News ID: 8582
Publish Date: 21 June 2012 - 15:50
Number of comments: 1 Comment
Amid divisions among Muslim scholars about allowing visits to Al-Aqsa Mosque while under Israeli occupation, Palestinian officials have launched a plan to lure more Muslim visitors to Islam’s third holiest shrine.

"Some Muslims haven't visited Al-Aqsa mosque since 1967, but this was a big mistake," Palestinian Religious Affairs Minister Mahmoud al-Habash told Reuters.

"We have now decided to correct our mistake."

Muslims have kept up an informal boycott of Al-Aqsa Mosque since Israel seized Al-Quds (East Jerusalem) and the West Bank from Jordan in a 1967 war.

Muslims say that visits to the shrine would amount to recognition of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

But Palestinian and Jordanian officials want now to reverse this informal boycott of the holy city.

Palestinian officials have launched a plan to attract between one to two million visitors to Al-Aqsa Mosque annually.

"It would protect Al-Aqsa and also provide an enormous boost to the Palestinian economy," a senior Muslim official involved in the plan said on condition of anonymity.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged Muslims last February to resume the journeys to Al-Quds to counter Israel's attempts to Judaise the city and in solidarity with the Palestinians.

"Visiting a prisoner is an act of support and does not mean normalization with the warden," he said.

Since then, several high-ranking Arab and Muslim leaders have turned up to pray at Al-Aqsa in an effort to kickstart a new wave of visits to the shrine.

In April, Egypt’s Mufti Ali Gomaa, accompanied by a Jordanian delegation, visited Al-Quds and prayed in Al-Aqsa Mosque, sparking anger in Egypt and Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Gomaa also visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre - said to be on the site of Jesus's crucifixion and burial - at the invitation of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Two weeks before that, Habib Ali Al-Jifri, an influential Sufi preacher from Yemen, had toured Al-Aqsa Mosque with Jordanian King Abdullah's brother Prince Hashem. Their visit was less noticed, but after Gomaa turned up, a pattern seemed to emerge.

Several Jordanian politicians and a Bahraini delegation have also made the pilgrimage to Al-Aqsa and Muslim officials said more high-level visits were expected, both from the Arab world and by Muslims from Europe and Asia.

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine Mohammad Ahmad Husein has also issued a fatwa approving visits to Al-Aqsa Mosque.

But influential scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi issued his own fatwa against foreign Muslims visiting Al-Quds.



On-Islam

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I think if Obama had his inner way, instead of hanivg to deal with special interests lobbiesto personally get anything done around the edges regarding any (former or leftover ) institutionalized unfairness, he would wave a magic wand and give the Palestinians there own state with full soverignty or create one state with full equality for all, including making restitutionto the Palestinians for all past usurpation of their dignity and survival as a group of humans. Similarly, he would wave a magic wand and give African Americans (with even one drop of African blood in them tit for tat) the same reparations, to add to their hard wonequal rights recognition. While Obama's inability to reach this goal for Palestiniansstems solely from the power of AIPAC and fellow travelers (including those gentiles who benefitfrom the current status quo, e.g., the arms industry), his ability to redress all domestic racial wrongs depends on white Americans not realizing he h0lds them all as genetic perps against the DNA side of him as idealistically represented by his deserter father, spawn of a (presumably) reluctant lackey for the Brit colonials. There's a deep reason why Obama attended sat in the pew and absorbed the philosophy and world view of his former pastor of two decades it wasn't merely a way to ingratiate himself with thelocal Chicago black leadership for career purposes.
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