Head of Egypt's Al-Azhar calls on Arab world to stand by Palestine

MENA, Thursday 10 Jan 2013

Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb stresses Jerusalem's historical importance following meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

Following a recent meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb asserted that Jerusalem (Al-Quds) was not merely an occupied land, but a "holy Islamic and Christian site."

In a statement following the meeting, the grand imam asked Arab education ministries to prepare curricula highlighting Jerusalem's historical value.

El-Tayeb also condemned the ongoing construction of Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land, and in Jerusalem in particular, pointing out that the practice represented a breach of international law.

"All Palestinian factions must unite in the face of the Zionists, who seek to uproot all Palestinians from Jerusalem and Gaza," he added.

According to El-Tayeb, Abbas presented proposals for achieving Palestinian reconciliation, especially between rival factions Hamas and Fatah, so as to "create the basis on which an agreement can be reached with Egypt as mediator."

At a press conference following the meeting, Abbas stressed the "central role" played by Egypt's Al-Azhar in all matters pertaining to Jerusalem and the wider Islamic world.

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