Israel outlaws Muslim activist group for Al-Aqsa mosque protests

Israel outlaws Muslim activist group for Al-Aqsa mosque protests
(Thursday, September 10, 2015) 11:07

Defense minister of Israel, Moshe Ya'alon signed a decree on Tuesday banning the Murabitun and Murabatat male and female Islamist activist groups, who gather on the Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa mosque].

Ya'alon's office stated that he acted in line with a recommendation by the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency, as well as in accordance with the Israel Police's view. He became convinced that the step is necessary to protect national security and public order.

The group's activities "forms a central component in the creation of tension and violence on the Temple Mount in particular, and Jerusalem in general, the defense minister's office said. It described the activists as engaging in "dangerous incitement" against tourists, visitors, and worshippers on the Temple mount, which leads to violence and could put lives at risk.

"The Murabitun and Murabatat's goal is to undermine Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, change the reality and the existing arrangements, and harm freedom of worship. They are linked to hostile Islamist organizations and are directed by them," the defense minister's office stated.

The decree received approval from Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

"It significance is that from now one anyone who takes part in Murabiton or Muarabatt activities, organizes them, or finances them, is conducting an illegal act and should expect to stand trial," the statement said.

Ya'alon added that Israel "allows freedom of worship to all of its citizens and to the tourists who visit it, irrespective of religion, and it sees this as a basic, central, and important value. But we have no intention of allowing violent elements that incite [to violence] to harm public order and threaten the peace of worshippers, certainly in a sensitive and holy site like the Temple Mount."

In July, speaking after a wave of rioting at the Temple Mount, a security source drew attention to the groups, which maintain a permanent presence on the site, and scream at Jewish worshippers that come to visit the site under heavy police escort.

"The Temple Mount is always explosive," the source said. "Police try to counter-act that. The activities of the Murabitun inflames the tensions."

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