May 14, 2018 / 1:50 PM / 10 months ago

Egyptian Muslim leaders condemn U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem

A fire truck is seen in a burning field on the Israeli side of the border fence between Israel and Gaza near kibbutz Mefalsim, Israel, May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s most senior Muslim leaders on Monday denounced Washington’s move to shift the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, saying it amounted to a provocation for the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims.

Israeli leaders and a U.S. delegation, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, were attending events marking the opening of the new embassy building on Monday.

The opening coincides with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, which Palestinians call the Nakba, or “Catastrophe”.

The timing the U.S. Embassy move shows a preference “towards the logic of arrogance and power at the expense of the value of justice, which makes our world far from stability and peace,” Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar mosque, Egypt’s highest religious authority and one of the world’s most eminent seats of Sunni Muslim learning, said in a statement.

He said the move was “defying the feelings of 1.5 billion Muslims around the world”.

Al-Tayeb called on people and civil institutions to take all peaceful measures and actions to express “their rejection of the positions taken by countries that sided with the Zionist entity at the expense of the Arab Palestinian right,” the statement said.

Reporting by Amina Ismail; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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