Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament on Sunday called on the Mufti to quit after a visit to Jerusalem, stepping up pressure on the state-appointed official over a trip that critics say bestowed recognition of Israeli control of the city.
Mufti Ali Gomaa’s trip to East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, has caused a stir in Egypt and across the Arab region, where he has been criticized for a visit that has revived debate about normalization with Israel.
Gomaa has defended himself, saying his trip was in a personal rather than official capacity and a response to an invitation from Jordan, which lost the city to Israel in 1967 but remains the custodian of its Muslim holy sites. He prayed at the al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.
Though Egypt made peace with Israel in 1979, most Egyptians are largely opposed to any normalization between the two countries until they see that Palestinian rights are restored.