Al-Aqsa mosque. Endangered?
Photo: AP
Doha conference calls for protection of Al-Aqsa mosque
Arab, Islamic leaders convene for sixth annual Jerusalem conference, in which they call on governments worldwide to 'defend Jerusalem's Islamic holy sites, especially Al-Aqsa mosque'
"We stand before an important phase in the history of the Jerusalem conflict," a statement released by the sixth annual International Conference on Jerusalem said. The conference concluded on Monday in Doha, capital of Qatar.


"What takes place now and during the next few years will determine the fate of the Al-Aqsa mosque," the statement continued. "Therefore the public and the Arab and Islamic governments are called upon to act in order to defend Jerusalem."


The conference was attended by a number of religious leaders, politicians, businessmen and scholars from around the world, as well as Palestinian representatives, some of them residents of east Jerusalem.


In the concluding statement leaders stressed the need for honoring the rights of the Palestinian people. They called on those present at the conference to "maintain a high level of awareness and watchfulness in order to stand up to the threats posed before the holy Islamic and Christian sites, especially Al-Aqsa mosque."


They also stressed the necessity of "standing up to plans to seize parts of the mosque, intervene directly in its activity, or restrict access to it."


"In addition, we must act towards the establishment of a Jewish neighborhood near the Old City in Jerusalem," they wrote. 


The statement called on Arab and Islamic governments to grant the issue the attention it deserves, and to refrain from treating it as an issue of "Palestinian internal affairs."


"The relevant international organizations have a duty to protect our spiritual and cultural heritage, as well as human rights regarding this matter," the statement concluded.


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