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Mufti says Trump plan for embassy relocation 'assault' on Muslims

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The undated photo shows al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem al-Quds.

The mufti of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the occupied Palestinian territories, Muhammed Hussein, says plans by US President-elect Donald Trump to transfer the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds is an "assault" on Muslims.

The grand mufti made the remarks in a sermon at al-Aqsa Mosque in Old City on Friday.

"The pledge to move the embassy is not just an assault against Palestinians but against Arabs and Muslims, who will not remain silent," Hussein said.

"The transfer of the embassy violates international charters and norms which recognize Jerusalem [al-Quds] as an occupied city," Hussein said, avoiding mentioning Trump by name.

On January 10, Mohammad Shtayyeh, a senior Palestinian official and Fatah central committee member, called for Muslim and Christian worshipers across the Middle East to protest against Trump's plan. He called for prayers at mosques throughout the Middle East on Friday as well as for churches to ring their bells in protest on Sunday.

The Palestinian leadership had been informed by diplomatic contacts that Trump could call for the move in his inauguration speech on January 20.

US House Republicans are preparing a letter addressed to Trump, calling on the incoming administration to immediately relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds.

The letter has so far been signed by over 100 Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives, and is currently being passed around to garner more signatures.

It calls on Trump to "take swift action to relocate our embassy to Jerusalem (al-Quds) as soon as you take office."

In early December, US President Barack Obama renewed a presidential waiver ordering the US embassy in Israel to remain in Tel Aviv, despite pressure by Congress and Israel not to do so.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state in the territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and the besieged Gaza Strip, with East al-Quds as the capital.

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