Senior Jerusalem Islamic cleric questioned over clashes

Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Mohammad Hussein's detention was condemned by Palestinian officials

Related Stories

Israeli police briefly detained Jerusalem's most senior Islamic cleric, following clashes between Muslim and Jewish worshippers on Tuesday.

Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, was arrested in connection with a "disturbance" outside the Old City's al-Aqsa Mosque.

He was released without charge after six hours of questioning.

The compound where the mosque lies is revered by Muslims and Jews and is a frequent flashpoint for violence.

It is known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary, and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

During Tuesday's clashes, Muslim worshippers are reported to have thrown chairs at Jewish visitors to the compound.

Muslims regard visits by Jews to the mosque compound as provocative. Jews can go to the compound but are not allowed to pray there or perform religious ceremonies. Those who are seen to break the rules can be expelled by police.

"The mufti was investigated for six hours over what happened at Temple Mount yesterday and over his recent declarations about the situation there," Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Tuesday's violence coincided with Israel's celebration of Jerusalem Day, which marks the anniversary of its capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem after the war, a move not recognised by the international community.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had called for Sheikh Hussein's "immediate release", calling his arrest "a flagrant challenge to the freedom of worship".

The Jordanian parliament voted for a non-binding resolution demanding the expulsion of Israel's ambassador in response to the arrest.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Middle East stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Martin Gardner as a young manThink hard

    Was this man the world's greatest puzzle master?


  • Carved pumpkinTrick or treat

    What did a riot at a pumpkin festival show about race in US?


  • A woman puts on a surgical mask during hospital Ebola training in Alabama.'Dark continent'

    Is prejudice fuelling Ebola outbreak hysteria in the US?


  • Oscar de la Renta and Oprah WinfreyIn pictures

    The life and work of Oscar de la Renta


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FutureThe future is now

    Get the latest updates and biggest ideas from BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit

Programmes

  • Smart glassesClick Watch

    Smart spectacles go into battle – the prototypes looking to take on Google Glass

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.