JERUSALEM: Egypt’s grand mufti, Ali Gomaa, visited Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Wednesday along with Jordanian Prince Ghazi, a senior Muslim official in the Holy City said.
Azzam Al-Khatib said “Prince Ghazi bin Mohammed, the personal representative of His Highness King Abdullah (II of Jordan) on religious matters, and the mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa, came for a religious visit to Al-Aqsa mosque.”
The two men also visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Greek Orthodox patriarchate, said Khatib.
Gomaa’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Negm, told The Associated Press that the mufti, Ali Gomaa, was in Jerusalem Wednesday to inaugurate an Islamic research center. He prayed in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine. The trip was organized by Jordanian authorities.
Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1979, but most Egyptians view the Jewish state as their nation’s top enemy, shunning dealings with Israeli authorities, including traveling to areas under Israeli control.
Negm said the visit lasted for two hours.
Al-Aqsa is in Jerusalem’s Old City, part of the territory Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war and claimed by the Palestinians for a future state.
In Amman, Jordan’s ministry of awkaf and Islamic affairs said the visit was in accordance with a command from the Prophet Mohamed to visit only three mosques on pilgrimage —Al-Aqsa and the mosques in Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia.
It added that Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas had “called on Muslims everywhere to visit Al-Aqsa and revitalize it by filling it with worshippers and pilgrims.”