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Grand imam of Egypt's al-Azhar rejects meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence Open in fullscreen

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Grand imam of Egypt's al-Azhar rejects meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence

Egyptian police arrested demonstrators protesting Trump's move in Cairo on Friday [Twitter]

Date of publication: 8 December, 2017

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Egypt's highest religious institution cancelled a meeting with the American vice president, due to take place on December 20, following President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Al-Azhar's Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb cancelled a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence after President Donald Trump's move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In a statement, al-Azhar, Egypt's highest Sunni institution, said Tayeb had reversed his previous decision to meet Pence, who is due to travel to Egypt and Israel in the second half of December.

Tayeb announced "his categorical rejection of a formal request from US Vice President Mike Pence to meet with him on December 20", al-Azhar said.

The US embassy had submitted an official request a week ago, "and the grand imam had agreed to this, but after the unjust and unfair American decision on Jerusalem, al-Azhar's grand imam announces his strong and decisive rejection of this meeting".

"Al-Azhar cannot sit with those who falsify history and steal the rights of people," the statement said.

"How can I sit with those who gave what they do not own to those who are undeserving?" the statement quoted Tayeb as asking.

"The US president must immediately reverse this decision."

Al-Azhar cannot sit with those who falsify history and steal the rights of people... How can I sit with those who gave what they do not own to those who are undeserving?
Read also: 

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- After Jerusalem, Trump will have Palestinian blood on his hands within days

- Trump's Jerusalem decision will end all hope of Palestinian-Israeli peace

The statement comes after Egyptian police arrested a number of people in Cairo on Friday as hundreds protested against Trump's move.

But Egypt's President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is still yet to comment on Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Many believe that Sisi's silence over the deeply controversial move signals his complicity with Trump and the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its capital, a position nearly the entire world rejects saying its status should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians.

Jerusalem is a key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and many Arab leaders and others have reacted in anger.  

Trump's move has been condemned worldwide and protests have been taking place globally including in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan. People are also due to hit the streets in London on Friday night outside the US embassy.

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