Jerusalem Mufti to pray for Arafat

Nov. 11, 2004 at 7:02 AM
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GAZA, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- The Palestinian Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, said Thursday he would carry sand from the al Aqsa mosque to Ramallah for Arafat's burial.

The Muslim spiritual leader told reporters, "I will carry myself a handful of sand from the al Aqsa mosque to spread on the grave of Arafat." He added, "I know it's not enough but will have to do for the time being."

The Mufti said that he had been chosen to pray over the body of Arafat in Ramallah. He said there could be more than one prayer for the dead, meaning it was acceptable that religious leaders would say prayers over Arafat's body in France, Cairo and Ramallah. He said he wished to conduct the prayers in Ramallah personally.

Sabri also said that Arafat's body would be placed in a wooden coffin so that it could in the future be carried to Jerusalem and buried at the al Aqsa mosque, in accordance with Arafat's wishes.

Israel refused to consider allowing Arafat to be buried in Jerusalem, but the Palestinians hope the day will come when that will be possible.

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