Wednesday, February 14, 2007

One Minaret Closer to Midnight

Jerusalem is a long way from Dearborn, but there’s something about this recent uproar over the rebuilding of the Mugrabi bridge, adjacent to the Temple Mount, that I can’t stop thinking about.

And now what’s been lost in many of the details of that story is the agreement by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s granting “permission for Jordan to build a large minaret adjacent to a mosque on the Temple Mount to call Muslims to prayer at the holy site. The minaret will stand at a site on the Mount where Jewish groups here had petitioned to build a synagogue.”

The synagogue would not displace any Islamic buildings, but as we’ve understated elsewhere, ("Temple? What Temple?"), and as is hugely obvious, Muslims do not like to share, and are religiously intolerant. They also seem to have thoroughgoing insecurities that cause them to become alarmed easily, especially where the hated Jews are concerned. When a group of Israeli rabbis were discussing the proposed synagogue last October, an Islamic member of the Israeli Knesset freaked, as described in the Jerusalem Post.

“'Any attempt to build a synagogue on Jerusalem's Temple Mount would immediate plunge Israel into horrible bloodbath,' warned Tuesday MK Ibrahim Sarsur, head of the southern wing of the Islamic Movement.

"'Muslims and Arabs will not stand idly by while representatives of Satan on earth such as MK Uri Ariel and his lunatic friends from the Yesha Rabbinic Council try to launch their insane plots,'" said Sarsur.

"'We will resort to violence if need be, which I believe is legitimate under such circumstances.'"

Ariel believed that “Jews' presence on the Temple Mount has clear symbolism.” He also noted it would be an opportunity for Muslims to display their tolerance for other faiths.

“But Sarsur said that the very building of the synagogue was a gross violation of the status quo and tantamount to a call to war.

“’I want to believe that the government and the sane Israeli voice will not allow fundamentalists and self-haters to plunge the entire area into a horrible bloodbath," added Sarsur, who heads the more moderate southern branch of the Islamic Movement, which decided in 1996 to run for parliamentary representation.”

That’s right, Sarsur heads the moderate southern branch of the Islamic Movement. In one breath he issues a call to war, then calls on sane Israelis to prevent the area from being plunged into a bloodbath.

Olmert thought it was a good bargain to trade what shreds are left of the Jews’ claim to the Temple Mount—Judaism’s holiest site—to pacify the Muslims’ intolerant hogging of what is, for them, only their third holiest site, and one never mentioned in the Koran.

Olmert’s decision was just as symbolic as the defunct plans to build a synagogue would have been-symbolic of the systematic removal of Jewish presence at holiest site in Judaism.

According to WND, “Rabbi Chaim Rechman, director of the international department at Israel's Temple Institute , [said] Olmert's decision to allow the minaret ‘is repugnant to anyone who knows what it is to be a Jew.’”

The Islamists lost no time in appreciating the symbolism.

As reported in WorldNetDaily,

“A top leader of the Waqf – the Islamic custodians of the Mount – told WND Olmert's granting of permission to build the minaret in the synagogue's place 'confirms 100-percent the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) belongs to Muslims.'

"'This proves Jewish conspiracies for a synagogue will never succeed and solidifies our presence here. It will make Muslims worldwide more secure that the Jews will never take over the Haram al-Sharif,' the Waqf official said.”

So there are some 12 million Jews on the planet, with only one commonly accepted holy site--the site of the Temple in Jerusalem—while there are a billion Muslims with many holy sites, of which the Al-Aksa mosque is only the third, and which 8th-century Muslims rather deliberately decided to construct on top of the site of the Jewish Temple. Yet it's the one billion Muslims who are so insecure—equating with a cause for war the thought that the Jews may put something up on the Temple Mount.

Will Olmert's gift work? So far, the world's Muslims are so overcome with relief that there now will be a minaret taking up the space that might have gone for the synagogue, that the almost insignificant Mugrabi bridge project has now drawn this this mellow response:

Islamists in Jordan over the weekend called for a jihad to "save the Al Aqsa mosque," and vowed revolt against their Arab rulers if they do not take steps to make Israel halt its reconstruction project of the Mugrabi Gate bridge.

The committee of Muslim scholars in Jordan's largest political opposition group, the Islamic Action Front, or IAF, said in a statement that they "urge ... proclaiming jihad to liberate Al Aqsa and save it from destruction and sabotage from Jewish usurpers." If not, they said, they would turn their anger against the Arab regimes that did not take action against Israel - starting with Jordan's King Abdullah, they said.

This is a footbridge, mind you. You can’t drive tanks over it or anything.

Now it may well be that Olmert decided to give King Abdullah his minaret now to stave off this maniac opposition aimed at the King in Jordan. After all, Jordan is one of the countries that officially recognizes Israel’s right to exist. But it is still an act of appeasement.

At the same time, as we have noted elsewhere, Muslim propogandists have been busy erasing the inconvenient truth of the history of the Jewish Temple. Also from WND:

“In an interview with WND, Kamal Hatib, vice-chairman of the Islamic Movement...claimed the Al-Aqsa Mosque was built by angels and that a Jewish Temple may have existed, but not in Jerusalem. The Movement, which works closely with the Waqf, is the Muslim group in Israel most identified with the Temple Mount.”

Haaretz writer Nadav Shragai explains:

Muslim religious figures attempt to portray the Jewish presence in Jerusalem as having been short-term. The Western Wall is a Muslim site, they argue, and say Jewish affinity for it was invented for political purposes and dates only to the 19th and 20th centuries. Their aim is to disprove the centrality of Jerusalem to Judaism. Above all they stress the "precedence and supremacy of Islam over Judaism, which contaminates the city's Muslim character"....

It is therefore easy to understand why the Muslims are so afraid of archaeological digs, not only on the Temple Mount itself but also around it, although these digs also shed light on Jerusalem's Muslim history. Muslims fear these excavations, not because they physically endanger al-Aqsa's foundations, but because they undermine the tissue of lies proclaiming that the Jews have no valid historical roots in the city and its holy sites.

Have you noticed how it's always about the precedence and supremacy of Islam over Judaism, or Christianity, and everything, and everyone? This is dhimmitude. We Muslims on top, you on the bottom. That's the way God wants it. Anything else makes us very insecure.

Bat Ye’or describes how this kind of “Islamization” works:

The Islamization of culture included the Islamization of geography, a phenomenon linked to every conquest. Cities often lost their original names: Amid in Armenia became Diyarbarki; Constantinople, Istanbul; Jerusalem, al-Quds; Herbon was Arabized to al-Khalil. There are endless examples through the dar al-Islam, and it is a curious fact that the Jewish and Christian chroniclers continue to refer to the original names, almost as if their national history was continuing soot voce in its ancestral geographical framework, uninterrupted by the Islamization of their country.

The concealment of the dhimmis’ history arises from the silence imposed on them and the ban on any criticism. In effect, the refusal of a dhimmi testimony against a Muslim determines behavior patterns and reveals the psychology of both groups.

The dhimmi group, stripped of its means of defense, is placed in a hostage situation at the mercy of unfounded accusations. This constant and degrading vulnerability engenders servility, flattery, and corruption. After emanicipation, Europeean consuls noted the dhimmis’ fear to assert their rights. In fact, blackmail and assassination punished dhimmi “arrogance.”

In the dominating group, this refusal of testimony by the suppression of speech—the distinctive sign of humanity—reflects a denial of rights. This mutilated speech, this rejected testimony, is transposed from the individual to the group and is perpetuated in time. History being also the testimony of a people and the foundation of its rights, the effacement of its past abolishes its rights. The official version of events then becomes a single voice epic, thereby perpetuating the mechanism of the obliteration and exclusion of the dhimmi nations. This process of obliteration—what Vidiadha S. Naipaul calls “killing history” continues to function in our days.

Bat Ye’or, “The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude”, (1996)).

Israel has been in control of Jerusalem, from which rises the Temple Mount, since her victory in the 1967 war. Yet for the previous fourteen centuries Muslims considered Jerusalem theirs, and, as with everything they consider theirs, and where any one else's interests come into play, their insecurities make them violent and irrational.

Since 1967 Israel has allowed Muslim control of the Temple Mount, probably from a practical recognition of Muslim insecurities, and partly from Israel's basic democratic decency and tolerance. All the Israeli conquerors of Jerusalem ever asked for were the barest rights of access for the people whose ancestors first built there, and for the Christians and others for whom, also, the Temple Mount was a setting for momentous things.

The contrast with the ungrateful and intransigent attitude of the Muslims over the Temple Mount is startling--and sickening.

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