Hamas uses Morsi’s picture to drag Palestinians into Egypt disputes
JERUSALEM - Thousands of worshipers who flooded Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque Friday found themselves before a huge poster of Egypt’s ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.
Worshipers were asking who raised the photo, why Palestinians were intervening in Egyptian affairs, and what Morsi has done for Al Aqsa that motivated some to raise his photo in the holy mosque.
Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf slammed the pro-Morsi demonstration inside the mosque and described it as intervention in Egyptian affairs as well as siding with one party at the expense of another.
This partiality, he said, by Hamas and by the Islamic movement in the Arab towns in Israel, is a proof that they are loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood but not to Palestine.
Our people’s priorities, added Assaf, are to free Al Aqsa Mosque and to establish a Palestinian state instead of fighting marginal battles. A photo of Yasser Arafat should have been raised in the mosque instead because he “died defending Al Aqsa Mosque,” added the spokesman.
Assaf criticized Hamas-affiliated Al Aqsa satellite TV and Islamic Jihad-affiliated al-Quds station for broadcasting special Ramadan evening prayers from the Rabia al-Adawiyya Mosque in Cairo where supporters of Morsi usually hold their protests.
"Why didn’t they broadcast prayers from Al Aqsa Mosque?" he wondered. "Has Rabia al-Adawiyya mosque become as important to Muslims as Al Aqsa Mosque? Muslims were asked at the beginning to face the direction of Al Aqsa Mosque during prayer, and the mosque is considered the third holiest place in the world for Muslims."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated that the Palestinian leadership would continue to respect the Egyptian people’s will and abstain from intervention in Egypt’s internal affairs.
Abbas highlighted that Egypt had always played a leading role in the Arab world and would continue to play that role, according to Wafa, the PA's official news agency.
Palestinian minister of endowments Mahmoud Al-Habbash rejected the use of the mosque as a forum to intervene in the internal affairs of Arab countries. Regardless of who was behind it, he told Ma’an, both incidents were attempts to wedge Palestine into internal affairs of Arab nations, and this is completely unacceptable because it is against the policy of the Palestinian leadership.
He added that the ministry of endowments wouldn’t allow preachers to take advantage of mosques to address controversial issues. “We have one basic plight, which is the Palestinian cause and so all platforms should focus only on confronting occupation.”
Director of the ministry of endowments’ Jerusalem department Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib told Palestinian news agency Ma’an that Al Aqsa Mosque should never become a forum for internal conflicts.
“We want worshipers who come to the mosque to be able to perform their prayer quietly, and we don’t side with anybody. Worshipers from all political factions visit Al Aqsa Mosque, and we can’t deny anybody entry to the mosque.”
Witnesses said earlier that dozens of worshipers raised Morsi’s photo as they marched inside the mosque compound in solidarity with the Muslim Brotherhood and their ousted president.
“Morsi isn’t only a president of Egypt, but rather a leader of the whole nation,” read one of several posters the activists raised as they chanted slogans supporting Morsi and slamming Egypt’s minister of defense Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi.
The “coup” in Egypt serves “colonization” and is never in the interest of the Egyptian people, one said.