Pope Francis on Monday called for disseminating peace and justice so that all people, in the region and worldwide, may live in peace, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.
The Pope made the call during his visit to Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, escorted by HRH Prince Ghazi, personal envoy and adviser for religious and cultural affairs for His Majesty King Abdullah, the custodian of the Islamic and Christian sites in Jerusalem.
Prince Ghazi was foremost among those who received Pope Francis, upon his arrival at Al Haram Al Sharif (or noble sanctuary), where the Prince escorted the Pontiff on a tour inside the Dome and briefed him on the Hashemites’ efforts, led by King Abdullah, in safeguarding Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.
An agreement that was signed by His Majesty and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in March 2013 confirmed both Jordan’s role as custodian of the holy sites of Jerusalem and Palestinian sovereignty over all of Palestine, including East Jerusalem.
During a ceremony, organised by the Administration of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs of Jerusalem, attended by Interior Minister Hussein Majali and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, the Pope said: “May we respect and love one another as brothers and sisters.”
“May we learn to understand the suffering of others! May no one abuse the name of God through violence,” he said, recalling Abraham’s holy pilgrimage and how he is considered the father of all Abrahamic religions.
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem said peace in Palestine will not be achieved unless all aspects of the Israeli occupation are ended and the Palestinian people gain their freedom and all their legitimate rights.
Hussein expressed hope that the Pope will play an effective role in stopping the continued acts of aggression against the Palestinian people, their lands and holy sites, so that all Muslims and Christians may perform their religious rituals at Al Aqsa Mosque and Church of the Holy Sepulchre freely, noting that this is one of their simplest religious rights.
Also on Monday, Prince Ghazi joined the people of Jerusalem in their celebration of the anniversary of Israa wal Miraj, commemorating what the Koran describes as Prophet Mohammad’s nocturnal journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascension to heaven.
During the ceremony, which was also attended by Majali and several Jerusalemites, participants discussed challenges facing Islamic sites in Jerusalem, especially the Israeli practices meant to Judaise Al Aqsa Mosque and to alter the real identity of the Holy City of Jerusalem, as a whole, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.