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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

More Muslim Myths Revealed

From Israel Action Committee of Canada: (Who knew anything intelligent came from those Canucks?!?)

Aug 10, 2004
AN ANCIENT MYTH: Why Jerusalem is Not Holy to Muslims.
Leah Bat-Chaim
Arutz Sheva

King David chose Jerusalem to be the capital of the Jewish people some 3300 years ago and it has remained the political capital, on and off, to this day. Though many peoples have occupied the city over the millennia, it has been a capital for no other people. Jewish Scriptures refer to Jerusalem about 600 times, the New Testament more than 140 times and the Koran not once. There is a Koranic reference (17:7) on the destruction of the first and second Temples and one verse in the Koran (34:13) reports on King David and his son King Solomon, who built the first Temple, yet Arafat still dismisses any connection between the Temple Mount and the Jews!

Winston Churchill said in 1955: "Leave Jerusalem to the Jews - they are the ones who made it famous."

We often hear the Muslim claim that Jerusalem is their "third holiest city", after Mecca and Medina; and specifically, that this is because our Temple Mount is mentioned in the Koran. To show respect for other religions, Israel gave Muslims sole control over our Temple Mount and Jews are only occasionally permitted to visit.

In fact, even the claim of being the "third holiest place" is not true. It cannot possibly be true, for several very logical reasons.

First, the claim of being "the third holiest place" is based on a dream described in the Koran. That's right, not an actual event, just a dream. In the dream, Mohammed "visited" a place referred to as masjidel-aksa, which means "the farthest mosque". The Arabs claim that this refers to their mosque of that name on Temple Mount. But the El Aksa Mosque was built about a hundred years after Mohammed. In Mohammed's time, Jerusalem was ruled by the Byzantine Christians, and there were no mosques at all in Jerusalem. Moreover, the very name "El-Aksa" for the imaginary place mentioned in Mohammed's dream proves that the reference could not possibly be to Jerusalem. Jerusalem would never be referred to as "the farthest place". Jerusalem is centrally located within the Land of Israel, on the mountain ridge between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, at the junction point of three continents: Asia, Europe and Africa. This is clearly shown in ancient maps. In Mohammed's time , "the farthest place" would refer to Spain, Gibraltar or Morocco.

How than did the tradition arise of Jerusalem's "holiness" to Muslims? It has always been a Muslim policy, when conquering any area, to take over the holy places of the local people and to turn them into mosques. This demonstrated their power over the conquered people. The same policy was also used against Christian Holy Places, HinduTemples in India and Buddhist Shrines in Afghanistan. Thus when the Muslims conquered the Land of Israel in the 7th century, they looked for the holiest place around, and found a Byzantine church built on the Temple Mount, an opportunity to take away a holy place from both Jews and Christians at the same time!

The Muslim ruler of the Land of Israel wasn't happy with the fact that he was stuck with a backwater province. So, to make it more attractive to pilgrims, he named the new mosque "El-Aksa", and claimed that it was the very same one mentioned in the Koran.

Voila! The birth of a MYTH! The Christian equivalent of believing that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, or that he grew up in Nazareth, Texas!!!


At 11:27 PM, Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

What a fascinating piece of information. I did not know that the Muslims claimed Jerusalem to be the third holiest place.

Hoping all is well with you, your husband and family.


At 3:00 PM, Blogger amechad said...

OC --

You are wrong simply because it's holy to them if they think it is holy. Whatever reason is irrelevant. And the case of "El-aksa" might be true but what about Har HaMoriah a.k.a. Har HaBayit. According to "Jewish tradition" the Temple Mount is where Akedat Yitzchak took place (the attempted sacrificing of Yitzchak by Abraham/Avraham) but why is that? Simply that tradition ascribed an event (which may or may not have happened) to a place several hundred/thousand years after the event supposedly took place.

In any religion, facts are irrelevant or they can serve to create myths but they are not the last word. Hence, Jerusalem IS a holy city to Muslims simply because they think it has and the force of tradition has ascribed a holiness to Jerusalem according to Muslim law and custom. The fact that it's based on myth is irrelevant, especially to non-Muslims, but even to Muslims.

At 10:35 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

You're going to actually tell me that the fact that Jerusalem is mentioned over 600 times over the course of biblical history means just as much as it being mentioned NEVER in the Koran? You think the fact that it's mentioned so many times has no purpose? You think that archeological evidence that continuously confirms the biblical references to Jerusalem to the Jews is irrelevent to none being found for Arabs simply b/c they claim that it's holy to them? It's not like we came up with this out of thin air just to stir up trouble. Nowhere in the Koran is Jerusalem mentioned, so it can't be accorded holiness according to Muslim scripture. It can be afforded holiness by interpretation and Immams, but that would be by the same people that have deemed suicide bombing as not being actual suicide. Yeah, I'll trust those guys. Remember, they are also the same people that you're Palestinian if you believe and think that you are. No proof or evidence necessary. Can someone fly simply b/c they believe that they can, even though it would fly in the face of physics and natural law? Har Habayit has sanctity to us not simply b/c that is where it is claimed that Akedat Yitzchak took place. We have admitted that we don't know if that's for sure the right spot. But, we do know for a fact that the Beit Hamikdash was there, and that is what gives it its most sanctity. Dream vs fact? Oh yeah, they're definitely equal in the eyes of the law and society. Something that never took place in reality and something the did in fact happen and is not simply claimed as tradition. Oh yeah, they're definitely on equal playing fields. (Insert extreme sarcasm here.)

At 11:02 PM, Blogger amechad said...

OC --

#1 I'm not weighing the Jewish claim to Jerusalem to the Muslim claim. Obviously as a Jew, Zionist, and oleh, I support the Jewish claim and believe in it and "it's my side." But the Jewish claim is irrelevant to saying that Jerusalem is holy to Muslims. Jerusalem being holy to Islam doesn't make it any less holy to Jews.

#2 Show me the 60 times where Jerusalem is mentioned in the Torah. Most times the Jewish tradition understands a scriptural reference to be referring to Jerusalem, the p'shat (plain meaning)of the text does not say "ירושלם" but it's irrevelant b/c as one of my teachers said "P'shat is irrelevant" and what matters is how we (the masoret) have come to understand the text throughout the millenia.

#3. Someone who says they are a Palestinian and has some tie to "Palestine" is a Palestinian. The fact that there wasn't an Arab Palestinian nation thousands of years ago like there was an Israelite nation doesn't change it. Are you and I not Americans even though our family didn't arrive to the United States until the 20th century? Why am I an American if (some of) my great-grandparents didn't step foot in America or was never born there (as none of them were)? Why were my immigrant grandparents American? Come on, you were in Hillel's class. (BTW, this comes from someone who used to say there is no such thing as a Palestinian).

I think denying Jerusalem's holiness to Muslims or denying the creation of a Palestinian nation is missing the point for a variety of reasons, one of which is that I think my claim is stronger and more legitimate. The real question should be given Jerusalem's holiness (though I think understanding how that came to be IS important) or the existance of a Palestinian nation even if there was no such thing as an Arab-Palestinian 100 years ago (remember, the whole idea of nation-states didn't exist until the Treaty of Westphalia in the 1600s, I believe), what does that mean now? Where do we go from here?

Ugh, I feel like such a leftie. I have to go wash off now.

At 12:35 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

If the Temple Mount were really holy to the Moslems, they wouldn't turn their backsides to the Dome of the Rock when they pray to Mecca.

If the Temple Mount were really Holy to Moslems, they wouldn't let kids play soccer up there (which they do, on a daily basis).

Unfortunately, the Israeli Government helps contribute to the desecration of the Temple Mount in many ways.

1. Denying the Freedom of Worship to Jews on the Temple Mount

2. Denying Jews the right to excavate on parts of the Temple Mount.

3. Giving the Waqf the right to harass Jews who do manage to get up to the Temple Mount.

But then again, Israel's not a real democracy in the first place. There is no Freedom of Religion, and the Israeli Government is hell bent on destroying the remaning shuls in the Gaza Strip. (see today's posting on muqata.blogspot.com -- sorry for the self-serving link, but its important to read)

At 1:49 AM, Blogger menachem said...

nothing new, definitely stuff we've all heard before, but still a great point.

i'd be cautious, however, about stuff like this, where you learn a little bit about some other religion and then apply it in some real way and try to tell them how to act.

for example, i'd say there's about as much textual basis in the koran for jerusalem being holy as there is in the torah for guys to wear tfillin and what they should look like. my point is, myths and facts and rumors and folk saying have ALOT of weight in religion. jews just happen to have a name for it, and we call it torah shebaal peh (not to disparage halacha or anything, but sometimes that's exactly what torah shebaal peh is. look at pirkei avot)

At 2:38 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Jameel, you believe that the Shuls should stay there?!? I believe that a given religion's prayer home, temple, whatever should stay where it's built. However, you and I both know that there is not a chance in hell that the Pals will respect the shuls. They will desecrate them and, as this very post says, they will stick to tradition and turn these "conquered" buildings into Mosques. You'd be OK with seeing that happen?!? Let me tell you a little story about the history of Detroit, where I come from and where my dad grew up. Behind New York and Chicago, Detroit had one of the biggest and most vibrant Jewish communities in the country from the early 1900's through to the riots in the late 60's and early 70's. The influx of the lower class black communities, as a result of the automation of the automotive plants, the Jews began to move southwest and created the suburbs. Due to the riots, any last remnants of the Jewish community disappeared into the suburbs. My father has taken us repeatedly to some of his old neighborhoods. He has especially taken us past the old shul, which had existed since before WW2. Now, it is a church. As a sign of disrespect or negligence, we're not sure, the church has left the big beautiful Magen David that was on the outside of the shul. You have no idea how much it kills my father every time he sees that. It hurts him that it's still there. You want that same thing to happen in Gush Katif?
Also, remember this fact, no matter how beautifully created a given shul is, once all the Torah scrolls, prayer books, and every other item that santifies a shul as a shul, it is no longer a shul. It's just a building. That is why a shul can be turned into other things. I say, as other residents have said to the D9s. "Please do not leave anything left behind." If I had my way, there wouldn't be a piece of grass left for the Pals to abuse. They don't deserve anything that they haven't worked for. That includes those buildings. Nothing!

At 5:31 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

OC: Hmmm...you seem to be ignoring every major Rav in Israel, who are using Halacha as their viewpoint.

My point is the buildings should be guarded 24/7. If you don't trust them to gaurd a building, you trust them not to shoot at us from Gaza?

BTW: See more fruits of the Disengagement here:


Seems like a slight miscalculation on someone's part (or unrealistic expectations, or PR based on lufge-sheft)

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Rrright... Yes, that's what the Rabbis are saying. Some of them are also saying that Hurricane Katrina is G-d's punishment against American b/c of President Bush's support of the Disengagement Plan. And, no, it is not against halacha to destroy a building that used to be a shul. Again, once everything that sanctifies a shul as a shul is removed, it's just another building. Nor is it against halacha to turn it into something else, e.g. a church or a shul. And, no, I don't trust them not to shoot at us from Gaza. Actually, I'm waiting and looking forward to it.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

OC: Hmmm. You are looking forward to Arabs shooting to kill Jews? Sounds pretty masochistic to me.

About the shuls; seems like the government changed its mind. The entire orthodox and haredi community came out against this decision and even Rav Simcha Kook, the chief Rabbi of Rehovot went to Rav Eliashiv to get permission to appear before the Israeli Supreme Court. Rav Shaar-Yeshuv, the chief Rabbi of Haifa as well as Rav Ovodia Yosef and the Seferadi Chief Rabbi of Israel are all against it. What does Hurricane Katrina have to do with all these Rabbis saying the shuls should not be destroyed?

Lastly - when the Romans and Greeks had surrounded Yeurshalayim, after weeks and months of siege, and they broke thorugh the walls of the city and were on their way to destroy the Batei HaMikdash...why didn't everyone say, "Hey, won't it be awful for the Romans and Greeks to defile the Temple and destroy it? Why don't we burn them down ourselves to prevent the Romans and Greeks from defiling and destroying the Batei HaMikdash?"

Even though you were a die hard proponent of the Disengagement, you are entitled to change your mind. Sharon and the government just did -- does that make them a bunch of idiots in your mind?

You didn't have any problems supporting Sharon on the entire Disengagement Plan 3 weeks ago.

Shavua Tov...and may we merit the rebuilding of Gush Katif speedily, in our time.

At 5:24 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Jameel, I am not a masochist, and you really don't get what I'm trying to say. I sugges reading Sun Tzu's "Art of War". You may understand what I'm getting at then.

Secondly, I am not now nor have I ever have been a "die hard" proponent of the disengagement plane. If you will look at every comment of mine on what I felt about it, you will repeatedly see the words, "reluctantly supportive" and "lesser of all evils". So, please do not put words into my mouth. And, please don't use the liberal method of argument by embellishing and attacking just because I have an opinion that differs from yours. I have my opinion of these shuls based on personal experiences, and I will keep them. If the government and the Rabbis want to use the buildings for strategic power plays, then so be it. I don't have to agree with it.

You also believe that b/c Sharon votes to keep the shuls intact, that that's a "sudden" change of mind on the disengagement?!? That would be incredibly naive. Again, contrary to what many would like to believe, I don't think that Sharon is in any way, shape, or form an idiot. I believe he is a master strategist, and he knows what he's doing. Saying something like what you just did is the equivelent of other people/disengagement protestors believing that Netanyahu quit the government because their mass of orange finally broke through to him. C'mon...

At 7:11 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

OC: Obviously Sharon didn't change his mind, and he's extremely annoyed. Whats disappointing, is that instead of listening to what the Rabbis had been saying, (which wasn't a power ploy, rather a halachik argument), the shuls which could not be destroyed due to halachik issues (as opposed to the temporary shuls were were destroyed in an approved halachik manner)) -- the shuls are being abandoned without any 3rd party protection. There's no reason in the world why this could not be arranged (Sharon arranged a similar situation with Rechavam Zeevi's murderers being in a luxury hotel/prison being gaurded by US jailers).

Sharon broke on this issue due to immense pressure on him, by the fact that he lost the majority in the government for this issue. Netanyahu on the other hand is a political animal, not driven by idealogy at all, and his resignation had nothing to do with orange pressure on him (till he turned blue in the face).

We'll see what happens - the IDF is leaving Gaza now...

Shavua Tov leKulanu.

At 9:59 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

And, what 3rd part protection would have been acceptable? More Egyptian forces in there? UN "forces"? I'm serious, realistically, what 3rd party protection could there be. Also, broadcast tonight on PA TV, the PA representatives clearly stated that the shuls will be destroyed. They are a product of Israeli "occupation" and will be destroyed. They're not holy sites and are not viewed as holy sites by the Pals. You think that won't really happen? That that was just political rhetoric? I mean, the only "good" thing that could come out of this is from the IDF putting up "Holy Site" signs on the shuls. They destroy them. We go to the world, saying "Look at these people. They don't respect our holy sites. They burt these shuls after we expressly asked them not to. We would never desecrate their holy sites as they have done to us. How can we deal with these kinds of people?" So, yes, these building are part of a greater strategy. I just don't think shuls should be used that way.
Can you tell me why you think they should stay?

At 4:35 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

OC: Kofi Anan of the UN clearly understood the damage to the Palestinians in the eyes of the world. Although I'm far from a fan of his, I think he wanted to prevent the pillage of the shuls.(even if not out of love for Israel, but love for the Palestinians, or hate for Israel)

The problem is Sharon. If he would have waited a bit longer to find a solution, I'm sure one could have been found. As I wrote previously -- there are examples on the ground today of 3rd party solutions for different problems. An example is: the murderers of Rechavam Zeevi HY'D and those involved in the terror boat, the Carina A. They are Palestinians terrorists who never deserve to see the light of day. Due to Israel's lack of resolve, these terrorists made their way to Yericho, and under a deal bartered by the US, they stay in "jail" under US and British auspicies. They would never stay in jail under PA auspicies, becase we all know what a joke they are. However, due to "moral" concerns, the US and Britain stood up to the plate. Now if you ask me, I think its alot more important from a moral standpoint for the US to provide protection for 22 shuls, then it is for these animals to roam free (which will probably happen at some point anyway). The US will feel very uncomfortable about continuing to support and provide cash to the PA, in light of their ever-continuing immorality. Its bad for the US State Dept.

Lastly - even though, in the end, Sharon was an idiot, and didn't allow any time for any arrnagements (and the shuls were destroyed), its better that we don't do it with our own hands, just as we didn't destroy the Beit HaMikdash when th Romans came attacking 2000 years ago.

I must get up and go to work now. Have a great day - and may we merit a rebuilt Jewish Gush Katif speedily in our days.

At 8:04 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

In that I agree with you. You saw what they did today. Sorry for such an un-"PC" comment: A bunch of fucking savages!!

At 10:30 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

OC: See - since we agree - Mashiach must be right around the corner!

Unfortunately, he was probably arrested by the Shabak for having an orange collar on his donkey.

See what I wrote in my blog (with pix) about the Palestinians, and it ain't PC either.


I'll be updating my blog shortly with all the regular blogs I visit, and add you as well.

(Thank G-d I'm leaving for home tomorrow evening, I've been in LA for a week on business) Mrs. Muqata and kids are less than thrilled.

At 11:00 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Thanks Jameel. I love having you on the blog. You're one of the few people that bring some honest debate to the blogosphere. Hey, you think they UN will stop choking on their oil-for-food long enough to "condemn" the burning? LOL. Hey, it's only shuls or buildings that were formally known as shuls. The Jews don't really matter. It's not like the Pals were marching in wearing brown shirts and putting swastikas on the buildings. It's not like this looked anything like Kritalnacht with dark skinned. In the words of a former resident of Netzarim:
"We'll return. It may be in 5 years. It may be in 100 years. Whether it be my, my child, or my grand-child. We'll return."
The everlasting spirit and perserverence of the Jewish people is alive, well, and stronger than ever. We will win b/c they can't.

At 12:38 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

OC: Hey, I wrote that about returning! Its my quote :-)

We'll only win though, when we have some Jewish unity. The Arabs are only a tool from G-d to punish us. When we have Jewish unity, the Arabs will cower at their own shadow.

The big problem is finding common ground within Israel today. What was common ground 30 years ago, is now far, far away. Finding any common ground among 100% of Israeli Jews is now close to impossible, while it was possible a while ago.

Anyway - thanks for the compliment!

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

If we can't find the unity when G-d is basically shoving it in our faces to have it, then maybe we don't deserve to have that land.

At 9:03 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

OC: What common denominators do you think apply to 100% of Israeli Jews, that can be used a basis to build on?

At 11:16 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Hmmm... Good question. Well, if 100% of us are Jews, that should be something to start with as a common denominator. Maybe...

At 2:03 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

The current estimates say that roughly 30% of the Olim from the previous Soviet Union are not Jewish.

Speak to secular Israelies lately? Do they know what the current hebrew month is? Do they know the Shema? When was the last time they learned anything Jewish?

In our yishuv (Muqata-land) we have community davnings for the chilonim to re-connect them to Judaism. Its not easy to even get them to come in the first place.

Once they come - they are hooked.

At 2:30 AM, Blogger Greg said...

Olah, my name is Eitan Divinsky; as you can see I'm completely new to your site. The issues you seem interested in are similar to the ones I enjoy writing on, mainly: Israeli and American politics.

I must admit I'm not religious although (I'm not sure how to say this in English) hazarti be'tshuva about a year after coming to Israel. Then I realized I should have studies Judaism first and only once I knew what I was getting into la'chzor be'tshuva. It was a terrible mistake. However,I always have and always will have the ultimate respect for religious Jews.

I came to the Promised Land against the will of my parents and against the prodings of many family and personal friends as well as my grandparents. Since I'm the only child and have mild OCD they didn't let me serve in the IDF-that had been a dream of mine since my discovery that I was Jewish at the age of 7 following our flight from the U.S.S.R.

Anyhow, considering your post...I agree with you that Muslims have absolutely no claim and no right to Har Ha'bayit. The next question should be: just how do we win it back? It's easy to support just tearing down el-Asqa but this isn't very realistic. Perhaps we should consentrate our efforts on pressuring the government-whether left or rightwing-to provide Jews a free pass to the temple mount providing maximum security.

Jameel and OC: I also agree with the last few comments u two have made. That is, only unity within the Jewish community in Israel can save us from the Arab mennace. Oh and I'll quote Sharon from a conference he held here in Chicago when I was a kid:"The Palestinians are an arrowhead in the Arabs' war against Israel". Unfortunately that same man is planning to create a "Palestinian" State...How sad.

As for the term "Palestinian" I agree with u olah that there is no such thing. Only in '64 did Israeli Arabs both living outside and in Israel begin labeling themselves "Palestinians". Hey, come to think of it I can claim to be a martian but nobody would take me seriously. Same thing applies here!!!

At 8:15 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Regreg, that's great!! Please come back and comment often. Do you have a blog?

At 7:04 AM, Blogger Greg said...

Olah, sure I have a block. It's kinda messed up right now due to my poor knowledge of html but you can certainly check out some of my latest articles/stories @ HearOhIsrael.blogspot.com (I know it's "Hear, O Israel" but I guess I wasn't aware of that when I created the name)

YOU have a very nice blog by the way...keep it up!!!


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