Cairo: Cairo airport officials say Egypt’s top Muslim cleric cancelled a visit to Saudi Arabia at the invitation of the king when he discovered that senior delegates traveling with him were assigned economy class seats by their Saudi hosts.
The officials said Shaikh Ahmad Al Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, angrily disembarked from a Saudi-bound airliner shortly before takeoff on Wednesday and instructed his delegation to follow suit.
Al Tayeb was assigned a first-class seat.
The Egyptians were due to perform Umrah before flying to the Saudi capital Riyadh to attend Monday’s award ceremony for the King Faisal International Prize for scientific and religious achievement.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.