11/24/2004, 00.00
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The international community must do something for the Holy Places

Palestinians who sacrifice their lives are the only defence for Islam's Holy Places, says Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

Amman (AsiaNews) – A three-day Conference on 'Threats and Prospects of Survival of the Muslim and Christian Sanctities' held in Amman under the patronage of the Jordanian King came to an end yesterday.

During the event an appeal was made to the international community to assume its humanitarian, moral and legal responsibility vis-à-vis the Holy Places in light of, as the Grand Mufti Ikrama Sabri put it, the "continuing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in all its all its sections and areas including their Sanctities, be they Islamic or Christian".

In the conference organised by the Islamic Education, Science and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) together with the Kuwaiti International Charity Organization, in cooperation with the Jordan National committee for Education, Culture and Science, participants highlighted the problems Christians and Muslims must face in preserving their respective artistic, cultural and historical heritage in this part of the Middle East.

Fr Hannah Kildani, a Jordanian Latin clergyman who represented the Latin Vicariate of Amman and Jerusalem, told AsiaNews that "the Jordanian government has always paid close attention to the issue of preserving all Sanctities, Islamic and the Christian, in the Palestinian territories". Unfortunately, he added, "there is no official government or public body in Jordan with the mandate to protect and maintain Christian Holy Places in the Holy Land and the Palestinian Christian cultural heritage."

In light of he situation, Father Kildani, called on the "Jordanian Government [. . .] to take concrete steps since the Christian Sanctities belong not only to Christians but also to all Arabs, Muslims and Christians alike".

For his part, Grand Mufti Akrama Sabri said that "the only practical solution in the context of the Palestinian tragedy is [. . .] to preserve these Sanctities, especially al-Quds al-Sharif, by the actions of devoted Palestinians who not only defend them with courage and determination but do so physically and spiritually sacrificing their lives." He added that these Palestinians "are the only ones who can save their land and its sacred places and face the challenges of the situation".

Rejecting the status quo propounded by Israel, the Muslim cleric warned that "we will not allow Orthodox Jews to enforce any 'status quo' on us. Al-Aqsa believers and fighters are ready to join the battlefield to fight them and to defend these places anytime, anywhere".

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