Palestine confers 'Star of Jerusalem' award on director of Indian Hospice in holy city Sheikh Munir Ansari

Jerusalem: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has conferred an Indian national with the Star of Jerusalem medal, one of the highest honours given to foreign nationals by the Palestinian Authority.

 Palestine confers Star of Jerusalem award on director of Indian Hospice in holy city Sheikh Munir Ansari

A flag of Palestine. Reuters

At an event organised to honour Sheikh Mohammad Munir Ansari on Thursday, evening, 13 June, Abbas thanked Ansari for serving Palestine and Jerusalem, the third holiest city for Muslims, with distinction.

The Palestinian President said the Ansari family's presence in the old city of Jerusalem reflects the strong traditional ties between Indian and Palestinian people.

He also called upon people for strengthening relations between India and Palestine. Abbas plans to send Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh to India soon, to boost tourist inflows from there, which can contribute to strong bonding between the two countries.

Representative of India, Sunil Kumar, who was present the event, also appreciated the role played by the Ansari family in strengthening Indo-Palestine ties.

Sheikh Munir Ansari, Director of Indian Hospice that is a unique and historic monument in the heart of the Holy city has become a symbol of India's heritage and presence in the old city of Jerusalem going back to over 800 years.

The Indian hospice has been under the direct supervision of a representative from India since 1924. Sheikh Munir Ansari's father, Sheikh Nazir Hassan Ansari, was appointed the first Sheikh of the Hospice from whom the mantle passed on to the incumbent who was born in Jerusalem in 1928 and has spent his whole life here.

In 2011, India had honoured Sheikh Munir Ansari with the Pravasi Divas Samman, the highest honour conferred on overseas Indians.

In the 12th century, Baba Farid, the famous sufi saint from Punjab visited Jerusalem on a pilgrimage and prayed in seclusion for 40 days at the current site of the Hospice. It later became a pilgrimage site for Indian pilgrims visiting Jerusalem and was dedicated as a charitable waqf property in trust for a pious purpose.

Almost every prominent Indian leader who has visited the region has paid a visit to the site and the hospice, which continues to host Indians visiting the Holy Land. The hospice also received a grant from the Ministry of External Affairs for its renovation.

Updated Date: Jun 14, 2019 11:26:37 IST