|Gomaa and prince Ghazi praying at the Dome of the Rock|
He went He did not have an Israeli visa or permit directly but of course the Jordanian delegation had an Israeli permit. He considered it unofficial visit insisting that he still refuses all sorts of neutralization of relations with the Israel.
The visit was a surprising one to everybody in Egypt including Gomaa adviser who was astonished and had to defend him on TV channels throughout the day. We only knew it from his official twitter account and his photos there.
إشراف الحساب| وصل صباح اليوم أ.د.علي جمعة في زيارته الغير رسمية إلى القدس الشريف والصلاة في المسجد الأقصى نصرة وتضامنا مع قضية القدس الشريف— الدكتور علي جمعة (@DrAliGomaa) April 18, 2012
Sheikh Ali Gomaa arrived today to Al Quds in an unofficial visit to pray at Al Aqsa Mosque in solidarity with the Palestinian cause.I think Gomaa is the second Egyptian Mufti to visit Jerusalem if I am not mistaken since the historical visit of late President Sadat in late 1970s.
Among all the jazz we are having currently in Egypt from on going daily political drama , we are having this discussion about the Mufti and hundreds of students at Al Azhar university’s dorms rejecting the Mufti’s visit and demanding his resignation. Sheikh Al Azhar Ahmed El Tayib also slammed the visit.
You can imagine the uproar in the Egyptian political scene after few hours of knowing this visit. The nationalists , leftists and Islamists suddenly found something to agree upon at last.
Potential Presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abu El Fotoh criticized the visit on his official twitter account
القدس تحتاج مصر القوية تساند أهلها وتقاوم تهويدها. نرفض الزيارات التى تخرج عن الإجماع الوطني— عبدالمنعم أبو الفتوح (@DrAbolfotoh) April 18, 2012
Al Quds needs strong Egypt that supports its people and fight back the Judaization of the city , we reject visits from outside the national consensus.Potential presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi also attacked the visit asking Gomaa to resign
Freedom and Justice Party , the political arm of MB also criticized the visit and announced in a statement issued last night that the Grand Mufti needs to be questioned regarding this visit.
الخروج عن قرار شعبى بعدم التطبيع ليس قرارا فرديا لصاحب منصب فهو لايمثل نفسه،ادعو المفتى على جمعة لتقديم استقالته احتراما لمقام منصبه الرفيع— حمدين صباحي (@HamdeenSabahy) April 19, 2012
MP Essam Sultan of Al Wasat Party tweeted on his official twitter account that the visit of Mufti is going to divide the nation and that the communications the Palestinians need is their support against the judaization of the city.
زيارة المفتي جاءت لتقسم الأمة إلى نصفين, التواصل الذي يقصده الفلسطينين ليس مافعله المفتي... يتبع— Essam Sultan (@Essam_Sultan) April 18, 2012
|Gomaa at Al Aqsa Mosque "Ali Gomaa's official twitter|
Sheikh Safwat Hegazy has announced that he will start a sit in till Gomaa resigns. Of course the radical and ultra-conservative sheikhs will find it a good opportunity to attack the Mufti whose views are considered open. Al Nour party already slammed him and issued a statement where it claimed that Gomaa polluted the chair of the grand mufti. We do not need this now.
Arab activists also slammed the visit like for instance the famous Palestinian Poet Mourid Barghouti.
بهدوء شديد: في الوقت الذي تمنعنا فيه إسرائيل من دخول القدس حتى ولو لصلاة الجمعة، وتسمح بزيارة مفتي مصر فزيارته تبارك حرماننا من القدس— مريد البرغوثي (@MouridBarghouti) April 18, 2012
At the same time Israel bans us from visiting Al Quds to attend the Friday prayer , it allows the visit of Egypt’s grand Mufti , his visit blesses how Israel denies us from Al Quds.In nutshell those against the visit consider it a dangerous attempt to neutralize the relations between Egyptian Muslims and Israelis as well an attempt to recognize the Israeli occupation to East Jerusalem.
At the same time some Egyptians are debating that visit and cursing Ali Gomaa , Some Egyptians , Palestinians and Arabs welcomed this visit.
Yemeni Islamist preacher El Habib Ali praised the visit and prayed to God to bless Gomaa for visiting Al Quds on his twitter account.
Of course El Habib is not popular among Salafists and conservatives because he is a Sufi.
أبارك لفضيلة الإمام علي جمعة مفتي مصر زيارته للقدس وصلاته في المسجد الأقصى الشريف اللهم أيقظ الأمة لواجب نصرته واحفظ مرابطيه— علي الجفري (@alhabibali) April 18, 2012
El Habib later mentioned that in the time of crusaders’ occupation to the city , a Muslim cleric visited the city after taking a permission from
Some Egyptians did not find a problem in the visit online and think that it was a positive way to fight back the Israeli occupation in East Jerusalem and West Bank. Some even suggested that we take the route of the East Jerusalem Palestinians to show the world how they are not let in to the city.
Dear friend and blogger Mohamed El Dahshan is among that team and he already visited the West Bank and spoke at TEDex Ramallah in 2011.
Some Palestinians believe that this visit was an important defense tactic against the continuing Judaization of the city like for instance the Mufti of Al Quds Mohamed Hussein who asked the Arabs and Muslims to visit the Al Quds in order to protect the city and Al Aqsa in an interview to MENA last month.
Blogger Hanadi from Jerusalem asked the Arabs and Muslims to visit Al Quds because as she said in her blog in last February 2012 that “Visiting the prisoner does not mean that you recognize the warden” in reference to the dilemma facing the Arabs or rather the Egyptians and Jordanians when it comes to visit the occupied city.
Tweep Ola Anan from Gaza also published a group of tweets she posted in her account defending the idea about visiting the old city.
الي متخيل انو زيارة القدس -تحت الاحتلال- هي تطبيع مع اليهود, يقعد يستنى لغاية ما سكانها العرب ينقرضوا وينتهي وجودهم فيها .. يستنى ويعيط!— Ola Anan -علا من غزة (@olanan) April 18, 2012
Those who think visiting Jerusalem while it is under the occupation is a neutralization with the Jews , should sit and wait till all its Arab residents extinct then cry
|A 1960s ad from Lebanese newspaper about|
3 daily flights to Al Quds
By the way regarding the Egyptian Orthodox Christians’ visit to Jerusalem, well the Church still bans the visitations and according to news reports the representative of the Egyptian Orthodox Church at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre refused to receive them there by the orders of the Church in Cairo.
For me personally this is unneeded visit in a very critical time in Egypt , we do not need this debate and I think Ali Gomaa got friendships with the Royal Jordanian Family and can visit Al Quds personally not officially.
Regarding visiting , well to be honest after reading Hanadi’s post as well Ola’s tweets and looking to the foreign activists’ visits to occupied territories as well this feeling I have as a Muslim when I see one of the most scared Holy sites facing huge constant danger , I believe we need a real rationale realistic dialogue without the old school of nationalism to see if our visits as Arabs and Muslims can help the Palestinian cause or will harm it without stupid treason charges to the end of that talk.
It is a short visit but it has created a long debate and its impact will not end , it has just started.
Here are more photos from the visit :
|In front of the Dome of the Rock "Getty"|
|At the Yard of the Al Aqsa mosque|
"Ali Gamaa's official twitter account"