Former Imam and Khateeb of East Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Mohammed Siam, passed away with a stroke in Sudan in February.

“Seyam has passed away at a hospital in Sudan,” Palestinian resistance group Hamas said in a statement.

“Sheikh Siam was a great Palestinian leader, a great scholar, an Arab writer and a symbol of the Palestinian people,” it added.

A former rector of the Gaza-based Islamic University, Siam was deported by Israeli authorities in 1988 to Sudan on claims of authoring Hamas statements and membership in the group.

In 1994, he left Sudan to Yemen, where he served as president of the Palestine League and a representative of Hamas. He also served as the dean of the Abdullah al-Ahmar Institute for Jerusalem Studies in Yemen.

Following the outbreak of the Yemeni conflict in 2014, Siam returned to Sudan where he remained until he passed away.

In addition to being a preacher and writer, Siam was considered one of the most renowned Palestinian poets.

Palestinian historian Osama al-Ashqar said about Sheikh Siyam that he was a man with a great reputation and many young people hoped to meet him and listen to his talk and wisdom.

“In the early stages of my first higher education. I met him in the early 1990s in Khartoum a few years after he was exiled from Palestine” Ashqar said.

“He was then a roving ambassador to Palestine, travelling to different countries to tell the world about the Palestinian cause,” he added.

A statement from Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh hailed Sheikh Siyam as a great national figure, a revered religious scholar, an Arab writer and a symbol of the Islamic Movement.

“Siyam has passed away after he lived a dignified life defending with pride the Palestinian right in all arenas, corridors and events,” the statement said.

SOURCE: Anadolu, Palestine Information Centre