Vatican visit to Al-Aqsa celebrates religious coexistence

Vatican visit to Al-Aqsa celebrates religious coexistence

AMMAN (Rahnuma): Palestinian and Jordanian officials praised the important visit on Thursday by the Vatican’s cardinal for eastern churches Leonardo Sandri and Francesco Patton to Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The officials also praised the important position taken during the visit in support of coexistence and the Hashemite custodianship of Christian and Muslim holy places.

The Vatican’s delegation was welcomed by the director-general of Jerusalem’s Waqf department, Sheikh Azzam Khatib, members of the Waqf council and an assortment of Palestinian leaders.

A seven-point message reaffirmed the participants’ attachment to the Omari pact, support for the Hashemite custodianship of King Abdullah over Muslim and Christian Holy Sites, rejection of attempts to change the status quo, regret for war periods which saw aggressions against holy places and innocent worshippers.

It stated that there is no alternative to the two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state in accordance with international law.

Wasfi Kailani, director of the Royal Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa, told Arab News that the Vatican visit was a historic meeting: “This high-level visit to Al-Aqsa and the words of solidarity and support is a true reflection of the 1,400 years of Muslim and Christian coexistence in the holy city of Jerusalem.”

Kailani added that Muslims recognize the important role that the Franciscans have played in the Holy Land: “We are recognizing 800 years of the important role of the Franciscans, whose role in education and guarding holy places is appreciated.”

Ramzi Khoury, head of the Palestinian Presidential Commission on Church Affairs, said that the visit is important and meaningful.

“We celebrate together with our fellow Palestinian Muslims the anniversary of the Custodians of the Holy who have played a crucial role in protecting holy places and in supporting the Christian presence in Palestine. The visit to Al-Aqsa has valuable meaning to the importance of Christian and Muslim coexistence in our homeland Palestine.”

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