By Daniel Pipes
3rd part of 4
VI. Israeli Rule
This neglect came to an abrupt end after June 1967, when the
"As during the era of the Crusaders," Lazarus-Yafeh points out, Muslim leaders "began again to emphasize the sanctity of
Nor were Palestinians alone in this emphasis on
Similarly, the Islamic Republic of Iran has made
As it has become common for Muslims to claim passionate attachment to
The fervor for
Along with these high emotions, three historically dubious claims promoting the Islamic claim to
The Islamic connection to
The Qur'an mentions
from the sacred
the Asad translation70 relies on square brackets:
from the Inviolable House of Worship [at
and the Behbudi-Turner version71 places it right in the text without any distinction at all:
from the Holy Mosque in
If the Qur'an in translation now has Jerusalem in its text, it cannot be surprising to find that those who rely on those translations believe that Jerusalem "is mentioned in the Qur'an"; and this is precisely what a consortium of American Muslim institutions claimed in 2000.72 One of their number went yet further; according to Hooper , "the Koran refers to Jerusalem by its Islamic centerpiece, al-Aqsa Mosque."73 This error has practical consequences: for example, Ahmad 'Abd ar-Rahman, secretary-general of the PA "cabinet," rested his claim to Palestinian sovereignty on this basis: "
Muhammad actually visited
Jerusalem has no importance to Jews. The first step is to deny a Jewish connection to the Western (or Wailing) Wall, the only portion of the ancient
In this spirit, Muslim institutions pressure the Western media to call the
The second step is to deny Jews access to the wall. "It's prohibited for Jews to pray at the Western Wall," asserts an Islamist leader living in Israel.86 The director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque asserts that "This is a place for Muslims, only Muslims. There is no temple here, only Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock."87 The Voice of Palestine radio station demands that Israeli politicians not be allowed even to touch the wall.88 'Ikrima Sabri, the Palestinian Authority's mufti, prohibits Jews from making repairs to the wall and extends Islamic claims further: "All the buildings surrounding the Al-Aqsa mosque are an Islamic waqf."89
The third step is to reject any form of Jewish control in
The final step is to deny Jews access to
This Muslim love of
In the early period of Islam, the Princeton historian Bernard Lewis notes, "there was strong resistance among many theologians and jurists" to the notion of
'Umar asked him: "Where do you think we should put the place of prayer?"
"By the [
By God, Ka'b," said 'Umar, "you are following after Judaism. I saw you take off your sandals [following Jewish practice]."
"I wanted to feel the touch of it with my bare feet," said Ka'b.
"I saw you," said 'Umar. "But no … Go along! We were not commanded concerning the Rock, but we were commanded concerning the Ka'ba [in
Another version of this anecdote makes the Jewish content even more explicit: "in this one, Ka'b al-Ahbar tries to induce Caliph 'Umar to pray north of the Holy Rock, pointing out the advantage of this: "Then the entire Al-Quds, that is, Al-Masjid al-Haram will be before you."98 In other words, the convert from Judaism is saying, the Rock and
That Muslims for almost a year and a half during Muhammad's lifetime directed prayers toward
Ibn Taymiya (1263-1328), one of Islam's strictest and most influential religious thinkers, is perhaps the outstanding spokesman of the anti-Jerusalem view. In his wide-ranging attempt to purify Islam of accretions and impieties, he dismissed the sacredness of
There are other signs too of
Modern writers sometimes take exception to the envelope of piety that has surrounded
dismissed the notion of the Prophet's heavenly journey via
That this viewpoint is banned shows the nearly complete victory in Islam of the pro-Jerusalem viewpoint. Still, an occasional expression still filters through. At a summit meeting of Arab leaders in March 2001, Mu'ammar al-Qadhdhafi made fun of his colleagues' obsession with Al-Aqsa Mosque. "The hell with it," delegates quoted him saying, "you solve it or you don't, it's just a mosque and I can pray anywhere."103
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