The Palestine Scholars Association, a radical Islamic body in the Palestinian territories, issued a fatwa on Wednesday banning foreign Muslims from visiting the Temple Mount as long as Jerusalem is under Israeli control.

Dr. Maher al-Huli, head of the fatwa department in the PSA, said that non-Palestinian Muslims should refrain from visiting the Al-Aksa Mosque “while it remains captive by the state of the Jews.”

He said in a fatwa that Muslims were instead entrusted by God with “liberating and saving the mosque from the Jewish usurpers and restoring it to the glory of Muslims.”

The fatwa came in response to reports that pilgrims from some Islamic countries have recently been visiting the Temple Mount as part of tourist trips.

According to Huli, “refusing to visit the Aksa Mosque while it is under occupation means rejecting Zionist sovereignty over the holy site and combating normalization with the Zionist enemy.”

He said that Muslims need to be taught that Jerusalem is an Islamic city that can’t be handed over to others. He also called for teaching Muslims about the need to wage jihad in order “to liberate the mosque and lands from the usurpers.”

In a separate development, Hamas announced Wednesday that Sheikh Yusef al- Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader and one of the most influential Islamic clerics in the world, will visit the Gaza Strip in May.

The announcement was made by Hamas’s top official, Ismail Radwan, who met with Qaradawi in Doha, Qatar, and invited him to visit the Gaza Strip.

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