Endowments minister: Muslims should visit Jerusalem

Palestinian Endowments Minister Mahmoud al-Habash has renewed the Palestinian Authority’s invitation for Egyptian Endowments Minister Mahmoud Hamdi Zaqzouq to visit Jerusalem.

Zaqzouq welcomed the invitation, saying that he has called for Muslims to visit Jerusalem and pray at Al-Aqsa mosque more than 13 years ago. Such visits uphold the Islamic claim to Jerusalem and do not represent a form of normalization of relations with Israel, the endownments minister said.

Visiting Jerusalem highlights the city’s Islamic status and its belonging to more than 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide–not only Arabs–Zaqzouq said. He added that slogans and speeches alone are not enough and more must be done to prevent Israel from implementing its plans to ‘Judaize’ Jerusalem.

Zaqzouq went on to say that visits to Jerusalem should help expose Israel to international public opinion, because if Israel denies access to visiting Muslims the entire world will see how stubborn and opposed to the freedom of worship Israel is. In addition such visits help increase the sales of Muslim traders in Jerusalem, according to Zaqzouq.

Meanwhile, el-Habash said that all Palestinian leaders would like to see Muslims coming to Jerusalem: “The residents of Jerusalem would like to see their fellow Muslims from all over the world standing by them. That will boost their morale in the face of the oppression they are facing.”

The two ministers agreed that Jerusalem should be evoked in religious discourse in the Islamic world. They also called for reviving the old charitable waqf tradition, where proceeds were dedicated to Islamic holy places in Jerusalem.

Zaqzouq also expressed readiness to facilitate the enrollment of Palestinian preachers in training courses organized by Al-Azhar, and agreed to dispatch preachers and Quran reciters to Ramallah during Ramadan and to examine the possibility of dispatching preachers to Palestine all year round.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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