RELIGION

Islamic authority rejects new Jerusalem Jewish prayer area

The Islamic authority that oversees a sensitive Jerusalem holy site 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 wall according to their customs. After three years of negotiations, Israel announced the creation of the new prayer area last week.

Any changes to the hilltop compound, holy to Jews and Muslims, stoke tensions. The Western Wall is the holiest place where Jews can pray.

The director of the mosque compound, Omar Kiswani, said Sunday: "We will never accept it."

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