ASIA/HOLY LAND - After tensions on the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Al Azhar convenes an "International Conference" on Jerusalem

Thursday, 27 July 2017 holy places   area crisis   middle east   islam  

Radio Vaticana

Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The University of Al Azhar, the most prominent academic-theological center of Sunni Islam, announced the decision to convene an International Conference on Jerusalem by September next year to discuss "with important institutions and bodies", the present and the future of the Holy City, starting with the latest tensions that have developed around the al-Aqsa mosquee compound and the Muslim Holy Sites. In a statement relaunched by Egyptian national media, al Azhar defines the recent measures taken by the Israeli authorities as "not based on any humanitarian or civilian principle". Already last week, the Sunni University had appealed to the international community to remain indifferent to what it defined as "aggressive actions" put in place by Israeli authorities.
The new escalation of tension around the Mosque compound began with the armed attack on that site last July 14, where three Palestinian bombers - then all killed - caused the death of two Israeli soldiers. In particular what triggered the reaction was the installation of metal detectors at the access doors to the mosque compound. Since that provision, there has been an increase of violence throughout the Holy Land, with a toll of at least six deaths (three Palestinians and three Israelis) in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The tensions surrounding the Holy Muslim Sites in Jerusalem are also linked to the attack against the Israeli embassy in Amman where two Jordanians were killed and an Israeli was seriously injured.
The last major international conference organized by al Azhar was the "International Conference on Peace", which ended on April 28, with Pope Francis’ speech. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 27/7/2017)


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