Grand Mufti of Jerusalem resigns from UAE peace forum over false Israel statement

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem has resigned from the UAE-sponsored Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies after it falsely put his name to a statement endorsing the UAE-Israel peace deal. 

Mufti Muhammad Hussein is the second member of the forum to resign after American activist Aisha al-Adawiya. But Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, the Vice President of the forum, has not resigned even though he has also disassociated himself from the statement.

Hussein announced his resignation during a public news conference, Wafa news agency reported.

In his statement, he said: “Normalisation is a stab in the back of Palestinians and Muslims, and a betrayal for Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.”

Hussein had previously issued statements condemning the deal, and last week issued a statement prohibiting Muslims from the UAE from visiting and praying at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Last week, FPPMS issued a now-deleted statement claiming normalisation “stopped Israel from extending its sovereignty over Palestinian lands” and was a means to “promote peace and stability across the world.”

On Sunday, Muslim-American activist Aisha al-Adawiya issued her resignation from the FPPMS. Adawiya said the topic of normalisation was never brought up at a recent board meeting and that “there was no agreement on any kind of support for the UAE’s deal with Israel.”

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Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

“As a result of this breach of trust and consistent with my values, I’m announcing my resignation,” she said in a Facebook post.

Other members of the forum, including Kuwait’s royal court adviser Abdullah al-Matouq, have also distanced themselves from the forum’s statement.

Meanwhile, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf denied supporting the UAE-Israel peace deal and blamed the media for misrepresenting him.

He wrote on Facebook: “According to Imam al-Shafi‘i, “Words cannot be attributed to one who has not spoken them (لا ينسب الى ساكت قول).” This is an important juristic principle. The recent reports alleging my political views were fabricated and erroneous. I do not engage in or endorse geopolitical strategies or treaties. My allegiance is and has always been with the oppressed peoples of Palestine, whether Muslim, Christian, or otherwise. Anyone who says differently is a liar; the Qur’an reminds us, ‘And the damnation of God is upon liars’ (3:61). God is the judge and defender for the believer. I place my complete trust in Him alone.

“There have been some articles that have made false attributions about me and fabricated scenarios that never took place. The Qur’an says, ‘If an ungodly person brings news, ascertain whether or not it is true, for you may end up harming someone out of ignorance and come to regret it’ (49:6). I was never contacted by any news or media outlet for a statement or clarification on the recent controversy. Please do not spread lies on the Internet. Suspend judgment and seek clarification.

“The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘The best servants of God are those who remind you of God when they are seen. The worst servants of God are those who carry gossip, separating between loved ones and seeking misery for the innocent.’ (Musnad of Imam Ahmad)”

5Pillars has contacted Shaykh Hamza asking for further clarification on his statement. We specifically asked him for his views on the UAE-Israel peace deal and whether he intends to resign from the forum following their misrepresentation of him.

He has not replied.

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