KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Jan 6 – With Jerusalem chosen as the capital of Islamic tourism this year, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Secretary General, Iyad Ameen Madani, intends to invite Palestinian and Jordanian Ministers of Tourism, to work out a plan aimed at promoting Al-Quds and its Islamic holy sites as a tourist destination.

The plan included connecting tourism agencies in Palestine and Jordan, with Umrah tour agents, he said, in an OIC statement.

Madani said that, the ministers’ meeting would discuss a formula that would boost the movement of pilgrims to Al-Quds, pointing out that Saudi Arabia alone received more than six million pilgrims a year.

Al-Quds or Baitul-Maqdis is the Arabic name for the city of Jerusalem, which is important to the Muslims, as it is said to be the third holiest site in Islam.

Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad was transported from the Sacred Mosque in
Mecca to al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, during the night, where he ascended to heaven in a journey called Isra’ and Mi’raj.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, welcomed the call by the OIC Secretary General, who represented the 57-member countries from around the Muslim world, to visit Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa.

Meanwhile, according to the statement, Abbas, commenting on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) rejection of Palestine’s resolution, calling for peace with Israel within a year and an end to Israel’s occupation by 2017, said, Palestine was considering resubmission of the draft resolution, “even if it has to resubmit time and again until it is approved.”

Abbas, accompanied by Madani, also opened a photo gallery – ‘Al-Quds in Memory’ in Ramallah, organised by OIC’s Research Centre for History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), in cooperation with the Palestine Ministry of Culture.

The statement said that, the photo gallery was among the many OIC’s initiatives to support the Arab-Islamic identity of Al-Quds, in face of Judaisation, exercised by the occupation against the Palestinian people and to protect the architectural heritage of its place.

The exhibition displays 470 extraordinary historical pictures of Al-Quds, from the ‘Yildiz’ album of Sultan Abdul Hamid II and the archive of IRCICA, with translation of Arabic, English and Turkish languages.

Palestinian Culture Minister, Ziad Amr, said that, his ministry would organise the gallery in other Palestinian cities and other countries, to promote the history and strengthen the identity of Al-Quds to face the continuous aggression.


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