Saudi scholar intends to visit Jerusalem
Sheikh Muhammad Al-Areefi


Published: Apr 6, 2010 02:10 Updated: Apr 6, 2010 02:10 

JEDDAH: A Saudi Islamic scholar announced Monday on a satellite channel his 
intention to visit Jerusalem next week in order to produce the next episode of 
his television program from the holy city.

If Sheikh Muhammad Al-Areefi goes ahead with his plan, it would be an 
unprecedented trip by a prominent Saudi. Jerusalem is the third holiest site in 
Islam, but most Muslim countries observe a strict boycott of Israel and ban 
travel there.

Al-Areefi told his viewers Sunday on the Islamic satellite channel Iqra that 
the next episode of his show would be about Jerusalem and Palestine. Al-Areefi 
said he would visit the city next week, though he did not specify when and 
whether he had obtained a visa.

He said he was not afraid of any "treachery from the Jews," as he had put his 
trust in God. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said while he was 
not familiar with the case, Al-Areefi could apply for a visa from the consulate 
in Amman.

"Throughout the years many people from countries like Libya, Indonesia and 
other countries that don't have relations with Israel have visited Jerusalem," 
he said. "All these visits were naturally coordinated with Israeli 
authorities," the spokesman said.

Al-Areefi is viewed as a moderate scholar. His show titled "Dae Basamatak 
(Leave your imprint) is aimed at encouraging young people to get involved in 
their communities and contribute their time in humanitarian work. It features a 
studio audience of young people and live call-ins from viewers. Al-Areefi is 
currently visiting Jordan.

Al Arabiya satellite channel's website carried the report but said it could not 
reach Al-Areefi to get more details about his visit to Jerusalem

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