Egypt's Sunnis boycott Pence

Imam of Egypt's highest Sunni institution cancels meeting with U.S. Vice President due to recognition of Jerusalem.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Mike Pence
Mike Pence

Al-Azhar's Grand Imam, Ahmed al-Tayeb, on Friday cancelled a scheduled meeting with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in protest against President Donald Trump's move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, AFP reports.

In a statement, Al-Azhar, which is 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 U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to meet with him on December 20", Al-Azhar said.

The U.S. embassy in Cairo 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 U.S. president must immediately reverse this decision," the statement continued.

With the announcement, al-Tayeb follows in the footsteps of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which declared on Thursday that Pence was "not welcome in Palestine" during his upcoming visit and that “[PA chairman Mahmoud] Abbas will not welcome him because of the statements he made" about Jerusalem.

A White House official later stressed that Pence still planned to meet with Abbas and warned that canceling the meeting would be "counterproductive."

Tayeb warned earlier this week that “the gates of hell” will open if the United States goes through with plans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy to Jerusalem.

He said such a move would ignite the feelings of anger among all Muslims, endanger global peace and increase tensions, divisions and hatred around the world.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)