Egypt´s grand mufti visits Jerusalem´s al-Aqsa mosque (BBC) British Broadcasting Company) 19 April 2012 Last updated at 03:10 GMT)
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One of Egypt´s leading Islamic clerics has prayed at the al-Aqsa
mosque in Jerusalem, despite Arab opposition to visiting Israel-
The Grand Mufti, Ali Gomaa, said on his Twitter account that he had
made an unofficial visit to the mosque, one of the three holiest
places in Islam.
Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan during the six-day war of
The visit was criticised by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, the
largest party in Egypt´s parliament.
Egyptian religious and professional groups have traditionally refused
to visit Israel or Israeli-controlled Palestinian areas in protest at
Israel´s occupation of East Jerusalem and Palestinian territories.
Spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan said the visit was "very strange", reports
the Associated Press.
"He violated [the] opinion of the majority of clerics. Why, I don´t
know," he said.
Mufti Ali Gomaa said he had entered Jerusalem from the West Bank via
Jordan and not from the Israeli side.
Al-Aqsa mosque is in the heart of Jerusalem´s old city, alongside
sites also considered amongst the holiest by Jews and Christians.
Jordan´s ministry of religious affairs said the Palestinian president
Mahmoud Abbas has called on Muslims to visit the mosque as a way of
establishing a Palestinian presence in the city.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be a future capital of a
Palestinian state. (© BBC MMXII 04/19/12)
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