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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Rejecting a leading Muslim cleric's forecast that Jerusalem will soon be the capital of a new Muslim caliphate, Mayor Uri Lupolianski reiterated on Sunday the importance of keeping Jerusalem united and Jewish.
"Ishmaelites have Mecca and Medina," Lupolianski said in an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post, "and Christians have Rome. But Jerusalem is the everlasting capital of the Jewish people."
Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, said during a rally in Umm el-Fahm on Friday evening, "Jerusalem will be the capital city for the new Muslim caliphate very soon."
Commenting on the violent reaction to Pope Benedict XVI's recent comments on Islam, Lupolianski said those involved in the attacks were extremists interested in causing political strife.
"I believe there were no expressions of violence in Jerusalem because of the city's maturity and because all parties understand that any violent incident here would take on graver meaning," said Lupolianski.
"I do not know what exactly the pope said. I believe he just quoted something. I also don't know what Muslims said against him.
"But I can say that in the city of Jerusalem, the indivisible capital of the Jewish state of Israel, each religion is given the right to worship peacefully. In fact, Jerusalem is living proof that peaceful coexistence is possible."