A major bloc of Muslim scholars has called for rallying support for East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque amid tension in the Palestinian territories over the holy site.
"Our nation faces threats against its presence, entity and identity, Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque," the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Doha-based union called for defense against "serious projects that target the Islamic and Arab identity of Jerusalem."
The IUMS went on to call for arranging various activities, including dedicating the weekly Friday sermons to show solidarity with Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian cause.
Tension has escalated in Jerusalem since last month when Israeli police briefly shut Al-Aqsa Mosque’s Rahma Gate on the eastern wall of Jerusalem’s Old City, triggering angry Palestinian protests.
Ever since, Israeli authorities have banned scores of Palestinians, including religious officials, from entering the flashpoint site.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site after Mecca and Medina. Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount", claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.