Inside Story

Why is al-Aqsa Mosque vital to Muslims?

Tension is running high as Israel bars young Muslims from praying at Islam’s third holiest site.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says that his government has started legal action to prevent Israeli settlers from dividing the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Abbas says attacks by Israelis are designed to divide the Islamic place of worship, and has called on Palestinians to defend the mosque.

Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli foreign minister, has criticised Abbas. Lieberman said that by calling for the prevention of Jews from visiting the area, Abbas wanted to raise tensions in the region.

So, can this tension be contained? Or could it lead to renewed violence? And why is the al-Aqsa Mosque so important to Muslims?

Presenter: Fauziah Ibrahim


Fadi Quran – senior campaigner for Avaaz and Palestinian community organiser.

Rabbi Yishai Fleisher – director of programming and radio personality at the Voice of Israel, East Jerusalem.