Saudi scholar intends to visit Jerusalem
Sheikh Muhammad Al-Areefi
By ARAB NEWS
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
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
"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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