Jerusalem museum sparks Muslims' outrage

Court ruling described as harming Muslim holy sites


Muslim authorities expressed outrage on Thursday after the Israeli High Court gave the go-ahead for the construction of a Museum of Tolerance on the site of a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem.

The Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, called the court ruling a "grave decision" which "harms the Muslim holy sites."

He said it was difficult to believe the project's promoters would want to build a Museum of Tolerance "whose construction constitutes an act of aggression."

The High Court on Wednesday rejected appeals by two Muslim organizations which complained that the museum would be built over part of an ancient Muslim cemetery.

"We will mobilize in the Arab and Muslim world so that it puts pressure to halt the project," said Sheikh Raed Salah who heads Israel's Islamic Movement.

Arab-Israeli MP Mohammed Barakeh called the decision an Israeli attempt to "wipe out the Arab and Muslim character of Jerusalem".

The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre is the main promoter of the museum, designed by renowned U.S. architect Frank Gehry.

"Moderation and tolerance have prevailed, said Rabbin Marvin Hier, the dean of the centre, following the court's decision.

"All citizens of Israel, Jews and non-Jews, are the real beneficiaries of this decision," he said.