Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani
Maulana Muhammad Khan SheraniREUTERS

A senior Pakistani Islamic cleric and former lawmaker has called for the recognition of the State of Israel, and urged Muslims around the world to accept the Jewish state.

Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani, who served as Chairman of Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology – a body which advises the government and parliament on Islamic law – and as a lawmaker in the National Assembly for the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party until 2018, announced over the weekend that according to Islamic theology, the historic Land of Israel “belongs only to the Jews”.

According to a report by British-Pakistani writer Noor Dahri, on Saturday, Sherani endorsed formal recognition of the State of Israel, and said Muslims are obliged to acknowledge Jewish rights to the area.

"This is an international issue, I support recognition of Israel," Sherani said according to the report.

"Educated Muslims need to understand that the Quran and history prove to us that the Land of Israel belongs only to the Jews. King David built the house of God in Jerusalem for the Israelis and not for the Palestinians."

Dahri tweeted a clip from Sherani’s statement, given in the Pashto language.

Urdu News confirmed Dahri’s report, releasing an exclusive interview with Sherani.

In the interview, however, Sherani seemed to qualify his criticism of Palestinian Arab claims on the historic Land of Israel, saying: "there should be an Israeli state in the western part and a Palestinian state in the eastern part." Sherani did not clarify whether the east-west boundary would run along the Jordan River, which separates Israel from the Palestinian-majority Kingdom of Jordan, or along the pre-1967 Green Line.

"If the two sides are sitting together, then why should anyone else have conditions,” Sherani added.