May 1, 2014 Thursday 1 Iyyar 5774
by Yasser Okbi
Decree creates possibility for hundreds of millions of Muslims from around world to visit holy site; fatwa says visits not be normalization of ties with Israel.
Visiting the Al-Aksa Mosque on Jerusalem's Temple Mount will not be considered symbol of normalization of ties with Israel, according to a Fatwa issued in Amman on Wednesday.
The fatwa cancels a previous one that prohibited Muslims from around the world from visiting the site.
Wednesday's fatwa was issued at a meeting in the Jordanian capital called "The Way to Jerusalem," attended by prominent Islamic scholars. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss "ending the attack on Al-Aksa" by the Israelis.
Earlier this month, The Jordanian Foreign Ministry, responding to riots at the site, asked Israeli Ambassador Daniel Nevo to convey to Israel, Jordanís protest and rejection of what it called recurring Israeli violations against the Al-Aksa Mosque.
Wednesday's Fatwa permits Palestinians who hold foreign passports as well 450 million Muslims who live in non-Islamic countries to visit the Temple Mount.
Among the participants at the Amman meeting, were MK Taleb Abu Arar (United Arab List - Ta'al) and the head of the Islamic Movement in the South Sheikh Hamad Abu Daabs.
Among the signatories of the thirty-nine prominent Islamic scholars who signed the fatwa, was the deputy of a leading cleric for Sunni Islam, Sheikh Yousef al-Kardawi.
The fatwa entitled "Visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque Under the Occupation" emphasized that normalization with the "occupation" should be avoided in order to prevent harm to the Palestinians. The scholars clarified that tourists visiting Al-Aqsa should only use the lodging, food, and transportation services of Palestinians and only in east Jerusalem.
The fatwa also said tourists could visit the city as part of Palestinian or Jordanian tours without Israeli coordination.
Last year, The Palestine Scholars Association, a radical Islamic body in the Palestinian territories, issued a fatwa banning foreign Muslims from visiting the Temple Mount as long as Jerusalem is under Israeli control.
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.