A number of Islamist parties and movements declared that they would participate in a demonstration at Al-Azhar University following Friday prayers condemning “aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque”.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) said in a statement that the arrest of the Mufti of Jerusalem “violates all laws and norms that guarantee freedom of belief and worship”.
“Zionist practices, including aggression on Arab Syria and the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by Zionist extremists”, along with the building of new settlements despite United Nations resolutions, were described by the FJP as aggressive efforts to undermine the ongoing peace process.
“The FJP holds the Zionist entity responsible for the deterioration of stability that will occur in the Middle East as a result of these repeated provocations,” read the statement. The FJP called on all Arab and Islamic countries to launch a series of measures to stop the aggression and to uphold UN resolutions, especially those protecting holy sites and freedom of worship.
The Salafi Al-Nour Party announced it would not participate in the protest because it did not have specific goals or call for specific changes to be made, according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
Galal Morra, the secretary-general of Al-Nour, also cited Egypt’s ongoing security problems and said his party did not want to participate in an event where saboteurs could create chaos given the current circumstances, according to Aswat Masriya.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr also condemned the arrest of the mufti, calling for his immediate release. In a separate statement, the minister strongly condemned the Israeli government’s decision to move ahead and build 296 housing units near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. Amr called on Israel to cease violating international law and undermining the peace process and to put an end to all “illegal activities”.
He affirmed Egypt’s commitment to the Palestinian struggle and its aspirations to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Grand Mufti of Egypt Shawqy Allam also condemned the arrest of Mohamed Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, calling for his release and warning that such actions would increase tensions between Israel and Palestine. He also called on international groups to intervene and help put an end to Israel’s violations of international law.