An Egyptian scholar denounces Muslim claims to the Temple Mount as false and politically motivated.

Renowned Egyptian scholar and novelist Youssef Ziedan conceded in a recent interview that the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is not the Al-Aqsa Mosque referred to in the Quran, and that the Temple Mount complex in the heart of Israel’s capital is not sacred to the Muslims.

Citing ancient scholars, Ziedan said that the Al-Haram Mosque and Al-Aqsa Mosque were “on the road from Mecca to Ta’if.”

“Neither we nor the [Jews] have anything to do with it,” he said in the interview, according to a transcript by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). “It’s all politics.”

He also contested the authenticity of other stories related to Mohammed in Muslim tradition

(In fact, the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site, where the First and Second Holy Temples stood. There are many artifacts discovered by archaeologists as well as historical documentation that demonstrate these ties to the site.)

Ziedan’s comments have caused an uproar in Egyptian religious circles and society, but he stood by them, even under attack.

When asked during an interview on Egyptian CBC TV channel, Ziedan explained that “Hamikdash [the Temple] is a Hebrew word [which Muslims also used for the Temple Mount]. This is a Hebrew concept. The Christian [name of Jerusalem] is “Aelia.” The Al-Aqsa Mosque, in my view, is not the one [in Jerusalem]. It cannot be.”

He also pointed out that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is not the first direction of prayer for Muslims.

“Our ancient religious scholars – Al-Waqidi, Al-Tabari, and many others – said that the Al-Aqsa Mosque… They said that the Prophet Mohammed, after being harassed by Quraysh [in Mecca], went to the city of Tai’f. On the road to Ta’if, there were two mosques: Al-Adna Mosque [“the nearest”] and Al-Aqsa Mosque [“the farthest”]… Therefore, Al-Waqidi and others said that these two mosques were on the road from Mecca to Ta’if,” said Ziedan.

“The Al-Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem] did not exist back then, and the city was not called Al-Quds. It was called Aelia, and it had no mosques,” the Muslim scholar pointed out.

Ziedan also said there is no justification for a war over Jerusalem, and that Muslims should just leave Al-Aqsa, which would lead to peace.

Palestinian terrorists have committed a long series of almost daily terror attacks throughout Israel over the course of the past three months, claiming the lives of 21 victims and wounding some 220. The terror wave was sparked by Palestinian rioting on the Temple Mount over rumors that Israel somehow intended to overrun it.

“So this is a political conflict, and the dream of liberating [Al-Aqsa], and slogans like ‘millions of martyrs are marching to Jerusalem’ are nothing but nonsense, as is the war led by the Jews for their temple and so on?” then interviewer asks.

“They are also lying,” Ziedan bluntly replied.