The Jerusalem Municipality has ordered the demolition of a mosque in the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa, believed to be a replica of one of the country’s most recognizable landmarks.
The Al-Rahman Mosque – built before Israel was founded in 1948 – has reportedly drawn criticism from several Israeli NGOs due to its striking similarity to the Temple Mount’s Dome of the Rock, an Islamic shrine and UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO sacred to Jews and Muslims.
According to court documents filed last Wednesday, the municipality approved the demolition based on one floor of the building that was built without a permit.
The municipality further added that 700 square meters of the complex had been built without permits or approval from certified engineers, and therefore posed a security risk.
“[The mosque] symbolizes the fact that there is no law or enforcement in the State of Israel,” said Yehuda Sharabanay, project director of the NGO Im Tirtzu, which seeks to promote Zionist thought and Zionist ideology. in Israel.
Residents of Beit Safafa and other Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem say they sometimes have no choice but to build illegally due to difficulties obtaining permits.
“It’s a calm and quiet area, it’s a mosque and that should be respected,” said community leader Muhammad Alian.
Aviv Tatarsky of the NGO Ir Amim, which seeks to promote peace and equality in Israel, condemned the decision, adding that the municipality was “capitulating to [right-wing] extremists”.
“The Jerusalem Municipality must act to increase trust and prevent unnecessary conflicts between it and residents,” he said.