FJP lawmakers condemn grand mufti’s visit to Jerusalem

Freedom and Justice Party MPs deprecated Wednesday Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa's trip to Jerusalem, calling it unacceptable "regardless of all justifications and reasons."

MP Osama Yassin, head of the People's Assembly Youth Committee, said in a press statement Wednesday evening, "This visit represents a real disaster and a blow for the national resistance, which had always managed to thwart all attempts of normalizing relations with Israel over the past years."

Gomaa prayed in Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site, during a surprise visit to Jerusalem Wednesday, breaking with decades of opposition by Muslim leaders on traveling to areas under Israeli control, MENA reported Wednesday.

Gomaa wrote on his Twitter account that his visit was in solidarity with the Palestinians' claim to the eastern part of the disputed city, under Israel's control since it captured the city in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

"The former [President Hosni Mubarak's] regime, which had strong ties with Israeli leaders, failed to impose normalization on the Egyptian people, and therefore it is not acceptable that such a visit takes place after the 25 January revolution when the popular and official positions were unified on rejecting the existence of any relations with the Israeli entity, as long as the occupation, settlements and the siege on Gaza Strip continued," said Yassin.

"Egypt's grand mufti, who went to Al-Aqsa Mosque, violating all the fatwas of Muslim scholars including Al-Azhar and the Islamic Research Academy, was not representing himself, but rather the official religious institution. Thus, what he has done cannot be justified. … He must be held accountable in a way that does not allow any other official to repeat such a situation, due to the harm it causes to the Palestinian cause," said Yassin.

Muslim Brotherhood leader and Freedom and Justice MP Mohamed al-Beltagy said Gomaa's visit was "unacceptable and comes within the framework of normalization, whether he realizes that or not.

"There is a unified, popular, clear position, which existed before the revolution, to reject normalizing relations with Israel. Breaking that national consensus on the part of the mufti is a very dangerous matter."

Beltagy said he submitted a request to the People's Assembly speaker that the prime minister be questioned over the visit. Gomaa is the head of Islamic educational institute Dar al-Ifta, a position which is normally appointed by the president. His tenure was renewed last year by the ruling military council, the country's interim executive authority.

This article is an edited translation from MENA

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