Israel outlaws Temple Mount Islamist activist groups

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon outlaws the Murabitun and Murabitat, Islamist activist groups whose members have been protesting on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount against Jews who visit the site, which is holy to both religions.

The Murabitat group features female Muslims who, on several occasions, have surrounded Jewish visitors to the mount, hurling epithets at them and sometimes attacking them physically.

The Murabitat, whose name is a loaded Islamic term denoting religious steadfastness at a time of battle, were founded by the radical northern branch of Israel’s Islamic Movement.

The Murabitun is a parallel group composed of men.

A statement from the Defense Ministry says Ya’alon decided to outlaw the groups in light of recommendations from the Israel Police and Shin Bet internal security agency. It says that the groups are a “major cause of tension and violence on the Temple Mount and in Jerusalem in general” and accuses them of targeting Jewish visitors, tourists and “worshipers” at the site (Jews are prohibited from praying on the Temple Mount, but some try to anyway).

“The State of Israel permits freedom of worship to all of its citizens and the tourists who visit it, regardless of religion, and considers this a major, basic value,” Ya’alon says.

“But we have no intention of allowing violent, incitive elements to disturb the public peace and threaten the well-being of the worshipers, especially in a holy, volatile site such as the Temple Mount.

Elhanan Miller contributed

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