JerusalemYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Shawki Allam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, declared the city of Al-Quds (the Arabic name for Jerusalem –ed.) and the Al-Aqsa Mosque to be sacred Islamic heritage sites that must be protected in light of the fact that these two places are at the center of the Qur'an and Sunni Islam.

In a statement issued by the Supreme Council of Religious Rulings in Egypt, the Mufti said that Muhammad traveled from the mosque in Mecca to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and then ascended to heaven, and that is the link between the two holy sites that are in the heart of every Muslim who must worship Allah in order to earn a reward from him.

Allam denounced U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The recognition of “occupied Al-Quds as the capital of Israel” hurt the feelings of millions of Arabs and Muslims, he claimed.

For this reason, he said, there was an uprising on all levels against the American declaration, which he claimed stands contrary to international law, which states that Jerusalem is occupied territory.

Since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Arabs have held several “days of rage” in protest.

In Egypt, Al-Azhar, which is the country’s highest Sunni institution, said it would boycott the visit of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. The visit was ultimately postponed for reasons unrelated to the Jerusalem recognition.