By Sana Elouazi
By Sana Elouazi
Rabat – The Al-Azhar Mosque’s Grand Imam, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, has cancelled a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, said Egypt’s highest Sunni institution.
The great imam expressed “his categorical rejection of a formal request from US Vice President Mike Pence to meet him,” the religious body added.
A week ago, the US embassy submitted an official request to meet the Egyptian cleric on December 20, which he welcomed. However, “after the unjust American decision of Jerusalem, the great Imam of Al-Azhar announces his firm and decisive refusal of this meeting.”
“Al-Azhar cannot sit with those who falsify history and steal the rights of people,” the statement said.
“How can I sit with those who gave what they do not own to those who are undeserving?” the statement quoted Tayeb as asking.
The Grand Imam charged Trump and his administration the full responsibility for “igniting the flame of hatred in the hearts of Muslims… and the consequences of spreading hatred,” Al-Azhar said.
The institution’s statement follows the arrest of a number of people in Cairo by Egyptian security forces after they protested against Trump’s unprecedented move of recognizing Jerusalem as capital of Israel.
On Wednesday, Trump delivered a speech in the White House, formally declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, adding that he is also ordered his aides to start process of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
While many in Israel, as well the US and around the world, celebrated the US recognition, demonstrations were held in Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran Turkey, Tunisia and many other countries where protesters headed to US embassies to express their anger over Trump’s decision.