Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh. Photo: Al-Azhar facebook page
El-Tayyeb made the remarks while meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh during his official three-day visit to Egypt, Al-Azhar said in a statement.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is fully Islamic, El-Tayyeb said, affirming that any temporal and spatial division of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound will not be accepted.
The United Nations and several Arab countries worldwide, including Egypt, have repeatedly affirmed the need to maintain the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.
The decades-old status quo allows non-Muslims to visit the mosque compound, whereas none but Muslim worshippers are allowed to pray there.
However, Jewish visitors have constantly defied the status accord, with some activists demanding that Jews should be allowed to visit the sacred site and pray in it. The Israeli government has, however, denied that it had plans to change the status quo at the mosque compound.
“Speaking about this division [of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound] is absurdity, falsification and extension of the Zionist behaviour that is based on falsifying facts, usurping rights and lands, and attempting to change the historical status quo of Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian features,” the grand imam stated.
Al-Azhar will continue to shed light on the suffering of the Palestinian people and expose the Israeli crimes, El-Tayyeb said.
“Has the time not come to arouse the conscience of Arabs and for them to unite in the face of the daily crimes committed by the Zionists against the Palestinian people?” he said.
The grand imam also called for the international community to take action against Zionist terrorism against the Palestinian people, who have suffered from the longest-ever occupation in modern history.
Meanwhile, Al-Azhar will continue to support the Palestinian people by all means and rehabilitate the Palestinian cadres in medicine, health, Da’wah and education, said El-Tayyeb.
Establishing Al-Azhar Institute in Jerusalem
El-Tayyeb instructed that studies be made for establishing more Al-Azhar institutes in Palestine, including establishing an institute in Jerusalem, to serve the Palestinian people.
He stated that Al-Azhar was ready to provide the institute, which will be established in Jerusalem, with teachers, administrators and other requirements, adding that Al-Azhar would bear all the costs.
The grand imam also welcomed the training of Palestinian imams at the Al-Azhar International Academy for Training Imams and Preachers (AIATIP), expressing Al-Azhar’s readiness to receive successive groups of Palestinian imams.
For his part, PM Shtayyeh expressed appreciation for Al-Azhar grand imam’s great efforts to defend the Palestinian cause and people. He also praised the imam’s upright stance on the rights of the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian premier also praised the “deeply rooted” relations between Palestine and Al-Azhar and the Islamic learning seat’s efforts to support the Palestinian students enrolling in its schools and universities.