Islamic authority rejects new Western Wall prayer area

The Islamic authority that oversees the Temple Mount says it opposes a new prayer area for non-Orthodox Jews at the adjacent Western Wall.

The Waqf’s rejection may present an obstacle for Israel, which has tried to defuse tensions with more liberal streams of Judaism who have demanded the right to pray at the Western Wall according to their customs. After three years of negotiations, Israel announced the creation of the new prayer area last week.

Any changes in the Temple Mount area, holy to Jews and Muslims, stoke tensions. The Western Wall is the holiest place where Jews can pray.

The director of the Al-Aqsa mosque, Omar Kiswani, said Sunday: “We will never accept it.”

Kiswani said a complaint was filed with Israeli police and further steps were being considered.