On Friday, November 18, according to Arab websites, 60,000 Muslims visited the Al Aqsa Mosque complex on the Temple Mount. Elder Ziyon has reminded us here that before the Six Day War, far fewer Muslims visited Al-Aqsa or the Temple Mount compound.
Here are photos of Muslim worshipers on the Temple Mount today and in 1960:
The Ziyon Elder says:
If you walk there on a weekday it is much less crowded, but there are always hundreds of Muslims to be seen there.
This is what it looked like on Thursday, August 11, 1960, under Jordanian rule.
He has more photos from the 1960s here.
The visitor, a Christian, noticed a few people inside the Al Aqsa Mosque and said more appeared at prayer times. They told him that the mosque could hold up to 5,000 people.
Even if we assume 5,000 people attended on the holidays, okay, double that and make it 10,000, there is no way there were 60,000 people on the Temple Mount at any one time under Muslim rule. If there were so many visitors, there would be no weeds between the cobblestones.
During Ramadan, the Muslim authorities sometimes claim as many as half a million Muslims on the site, although I don’t think they can fit more than 150,000. Either way, it is indisputable that many more Muslims have visited Al Aqsa under Jewish rule than under Jordanian, Ottoman or any other Muslim (or British) rule. (The entire Muslim population of Jerusalem was 54,000 in 1967.)
If Jews are oppressing Muslims so much, then explain why many more Muslims visit the Temple Mount on an average Friday under Jewish rule than before 1967.
When Jordan owned the entire Old City of Jerusalem, before the 1967 Six-Day War, Muslims did not think of turning up en masse to pray at Al-Aqsa, as a way of reclaiming the Temple Mount. The Haram al-Sharif, as Muslims call the Temple Mount, was already theirs and, they were sure, would never be taken from them. That dreamy belief lasted until the 1967 Six-Day War, when three Arab armies—Egyptian, Syrian, and Jordanian—tried again to annihilate Israel, to make up for the humiliating Nakba of the 1948 war. The Jewish state managed to defeat Israel. those three Arab armies and, amazingly, among its other territorial gains achieved through force of arms, Israel took possession of the Old City of Jerusalem, which included the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. Since then, Muslims have turned up at Al-Aqsa and its compound by the tens of thousands; sometimes as many as 150,000 have come at a time (Muslims even claim as many as half a million worshipers have turned up for Friday prayers, but this is doubtful) – pray in Al-Aqsa and outside the Mosque, on the Temple Mount . These mass gatherings of the faithful are religious-political in nature. They serve to reclaim, to plant the flag, to declare through the tens of thousands of worshipers kneeling and bowing towards Mecca in sync while chanting their prayers, that the 35-acre Al-Aqsa complex has always been, and always will be, eternal and exclusively Muslim. Israel and 3,000 years of history disagree.