02 May 2018

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita toured the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in March, becoming the second Arab foreign minister at that stage to visit the site in two months.

In February, Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi also toured the mosque. Senior Arab officials rarely visit the site.

Bourita was accompanied by Azzam al-Khatib, director of the Waqf Islamic trust in Jerusalem, Omar al-Kiswani, the director of the mosque, Palestinian Authority Jerusalem Gov. Adnan al-Husseini and PLO Ambassador to Morocco Jamal al-Shobaki.

Pictures and video shared on social media showed the Moroccan minister standing and walking around the mosque.

Kiswani said in a phone call that Bourita prayed at the mosque.

Khatib said in a separate phone call that Bourita’s visit reflects “Morocco’s strong support for Jerusalem and its holy sites.”

Morocco is the head of the Al-Quds Committee, which the Organization of Islamic Cooperation established in the 1990s.

The OIC website says the objectives of the Al-Quds Committee are to “salvage” Jerusalem, “extend assistance to [Jerusalem-based] Palestinians” and “safeguard and restore the Aqsa Mosque.”

An Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman declined to comment on the Moroccan minister’s visit to the mosque.

SOURCE: Jerusalem Post