(AA) – Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Iyad Madani on Monday arrived at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem.
Madani was received at one of the gates of the mosque by a host of mosque and religious endowments officials.
It is Madani’s first ever visit to the iconic mosque.
On Saturday, Madani called on Arabs and Muslims to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem to safeguard their Islamic identities.
He said the obstacles encountered by Arabs and Muslims on the way to the holy site and Jerusalem would show the world that they were not ready to abandon them.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.