Monday Apr 23, 201212:45 AM GMT
Egyptian parl. calls on top cleric to resign over al-Quds trip
Egyptian Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa holds a press conference in Cairo on April 19, 2012.
Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:44AM
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Egypt's parliament has called on the country's top cleric to resign over his recent visit to Israel-occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

The Egyptian MPs on Sunday voted to demand Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa to submit his resignation and apologize to both Arabs and Muslims, Reuters reported.

Goma visited the al-Aqsa mosque compound in East al-Quds on Wednesday. His trip to the holy city has caused furor in Egypt and across the Arab world.

The Egyptian cleric, however, has said the visit was unofficial and personal and did not signal his recognition of Israel.

The Egyptian public views Israel as an enemy. The country used to be Tel Aviv’s strongest Arab ally during the roughly-30-year-long rule of former dictator Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed in a popular revolution in February 2011.

Also on Sunday, Egypt repealed a 2005 gas export accord with Israel, which used to rely heavily on Egyptian natural gas to generate electricity.

The largest party in the Egyptian parliament, the Muslim Brotherhood has termed Gomaa's visit as "a catastrophe."

Recommending Sunday’s vote, the parliamentary committee responsible for religious affairs had said in a statement, "The brutal enemy controls [al-Quds'] entries, exits, mosques, and churches."

"Going into [al-Quds] enforces occupation and bestows upon it legitimacy, as it also represents a sign of normalization with the Zionist entity that is popularly rejected," the statement had added.

Israel occupied East al-Quds and the West Bank, another Palestinian territory, in 1967 and later annexed both. The international community has refused to recognize either move.

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