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Muslim family will not give up keys to iconic Jerusalem church despite pressure

The controversy over the key to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City says more about the lack of political leadership in Jerusalem than about the current custodian's suitability for the role.

A Jerusalem family that holds the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is resisting community and political pressure to relinquish them. Adeeb Joudeh al-Husseini, who says his family was granted the keys in the 12th century, told Al-Monitor there is no reason he should give them up. The key holder says his family's custodianship dates back to the time of Saladin, the Muslim leader who liberated Jerusalem.

Reuters ran a long article late in 2017 explaining that the key was given to the Joudeh family after the city was liberated from the Crusaders in 1187. Another of the city’s oldest Muslim families, the Nusseibehs, was entrusted with the duty of opening and closing the church doors, a task they perform to this day.

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