This week’s unusual public visit to Jerusalem by Omani foreign minister Yusuf Bin Alawi called attention to an intriguing recent trend. At the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)’s meeting on December 13, 2017, in Istanbul, convened in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy there, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for Muslims from around the world to travel to Jerusalem and specifically to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque. While Erdogan’s most recent call was billed as a response to Trump’s announcement, the record shows that this announcement did not precipitate the trend of rising Muslim – and especially Turkish – travel to Jerusalem.
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