Jerusalem, August 10 - The Islamic religious authority that administers the affairs of a contested sacred compound unveiled plans today for the construction of a baseball stadium on the plateau's northern end to augment the holiness of the site and bring more honor to God.
The Waqf, the religious council governing the Temple Mount - known in Arabic as the Haram al-Sharif - released a plan Tuesday afternoon to build a diamond with artificial turf and extensive seating so that the throngs of Muslim youths visiting the compound will have recreational options available to them beyond the existing parkour and soccer events that occur there daily. With such a facility a stone's throw from the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, worshipers will be able to engage in an additional ritual that celebrates the site's Islamic heritage.
When completed, the field and stands will occupy most of the area of the Temple Mount between the Dome of the Rock and the Mount's northern edge. The stadium will seat an estimated 25,000, and a specially-designed Jumbotron display will feature prominently over the center field seats. The Dome of the Rock will be visible beyond right field. Waqf officials said they expected preliminary work on the site to begin within three months and be competed by the spring of 2018, in time for the baseball season, an ambitious schedule unheard of in Jerusalem, a city with restrictive regulations on the size, design, and placement of buildings.
"Normally a project of this scale would require all sorts of zoning and other approval," explained Hugib Zadamm, a Waqf secretary. "But there is no way we would legitimize the Zionist occupiers by seeking their approval for anything. So we're just going to build it - and that saves months, perhaps years, of bureaucracy. They don't have the political will to stop us anyway - they're afraid to lift a finger to enforce their so-called sovereignty, so we can get away with anything. This is going to be glorious."
Zadamm further explained that the current use of the Haram al-Sharif by Muslims for sports and recreation does not do justice to the holiness of the place, which must be preserved by keeping away Jews with their filthy feet and Talmudic rituals. "Soccer is fine, some variation of hopscotch, and the various games that our day camps play all the time here are all well and good, but we were looking for something to really make a statement about the divine nature of the place, and this grand gesture was deemed the most suitable."
"I mean, other than bowing with our backsides toward the Dome of the Rock when we pray," he added.
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