Influential Muslim cleric Yousuf al-Qaradawi on Friday called on the Palestinian resistance to hold onto its arms in a sermon at a Gaza City mosque.
“I advise all the people of Gaza to be patient and continue to build their country, and continue resistance,” the sheikh told worshipers at al-Omari Mosque.
“We will not give up on the resistance, and we will not give up our arms,” he added.
The cleric also called on Palestinians to implement national reconciliation and praised the victories of Palestinians in Gaza.
During a meeting Thursday with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, al-Qaradawi warned that nobody has the right to cede “any part of Palestine.”
Egyptian-born al-Qaradawi, who is a citizen of Qatar and close to the Muslim Brotherhood, was heading of a delegation of 50 clerics from 14 countries.
“Palestine was never Jewish,” he said. “Palestine is Arab and Muslim and will remain Arab and Muslim, and Islam will prevail.”
Haniyeh, who handed al-Qaradawi a Palestinian passport, reaffirmed that Hamas would “never give up or recognize Israel.”
“We will not give up our rights, we will never give up an inch of Palestine and won’t allow anyone to cede a grain of Palestinian land,” he said.
The 86-year-old al-Qaradawi, who last visited Gaza in 1958, arrived Wednesday night for a three-day visit he said was to “support its people and participate in lifting the (Israeli) blockade against them.”
Last month, he boycotted an inter-faith forum in Doha because Jews were invited to the conference.
Al-Qaradawi, head of the Association of Muslim Scholars, is a controversial religious figure in the West and has millions of supporters — mainly from the Muslim Brotherhood.
He hosts a popular show on Al-Jazeera television and backed the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria.
Al-Qaradawi was refused a French visa last year on the grounds of being anti-Jewish. He was banned from entering Britain in 2008 and has been banned from the United States since 1999.
(Ma’an – maannews.net)