Shaikh Yousuf Qaradawi Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Manama: The Palestinian ambassador to Bahrain has rejected a controversial fatwa (religious edict) that prohibits non-Palestinians from visiting Palestine.

“Arabs and Muslims should not equate prisoners with jailers,” Taha Mohammad Abdul Qadir said, referring to Palestinians and Israelis. “Visiting Palestine does not mean in any way normalising ties with the occupiers,” he told Gulf News.

Palestinians have been upset by a fatwa issued by Shaikh Yousuf Qaradawi prohibiting non-Palestinians, regardless of their religion, from visiting [occupied] Jerusalem while it is occupied, and avoid legitimising the Israeli occupation.

The scholar said that the Islamic nation as a whole should be in a position of responsibility to defend the holy city, and not only the Palestinian people.

However, Palestinian news agency Wafa on Tuesday reported that Mahmoud Habbash, the endowment and religious affairs minister, called on Qaradawi to overturn the fatwa he had issued prohibiting non-Palestinians from visiting [occupied] Jerusalem as long as it was occupied by Israel.

According to Mahmoud Habbash, visits to Jerusalem will challenge Israeli policies in the occupied city and show support for its Palestinian residents.

The fatwa contradicts Islamic teachings and provides a free service to the Israeli occupation that aims to isolate [occupied] Jerusalem from its Arab and Islamic surroundings, he said.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas urged, at a conference on [occupied] Jerusalem on Sunday and Monday in Doha, all Muslims and Christians to visit [occupied] Jerusalem “in order to see for themselves the Israeli violations in the holy city and to affirm its Arab Muslim and Christian heritage and ties.”

Palestinians in Bahrain and elsewhere have been pushing football teams and artists to play and perform in Palestine in a show of support for the Palestinians.