Muslims are to be barred from praying at Jerusalem’s al Aqsa Mosque.
Hang on! Before you grab your pitchfork and light your torch, I was just joshing. This is not happening. It’s not even being suggested because, of course, the “Arab street” would erupt in fresh savage violence, and that wouldn’t do. At least not until they regroup from the last rash of savage violence.
And besides, such a suggestion would cause the world at large to explode in righteous indignation and rage ” How dare anyone try to ban Muslims from worshiping at Islam’s third holiest site?!”
Indeed. And, they’re not.
However, Associated Press is reporting that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has suggested, out loud and in all seriousness, that Jews be banned from the holiest site in Judaism.
So far, I can discern no widespread indignation.
No riots in the streets of any country.
Not even in Israel, the one and only Jewish country on the planet.
Abbas evidently made the suggestion after Palestinian worshipers clashed with Israeli forces over “what Palestinians see as Jewish encroachment on the site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.”
In other words, there were too many Jews, too close to the holiest site in all of Judaism, and that makes Palestinian Muslims uncomfortable.
In a speech quoted by the official Palestinian news agency, Abbas said Jewish “settlers” (a word now used as an anti-Semitic slur that seeks to rob Jews of their humanity) should be prevented from entering the site “by any means.”
“This is our Noble Sanctuary … they have no right to enter and desecrate it,” Abbas reportedly said.
Especially aggravating is the fact that this guy means the Jews are “desecrating” the site by their presence alone. No one is accusing them of destroying priceless artifacts or urinating or defecating inside a holy place (as, you may recall, a gang of Palestinian gunmen actually did to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem a few years back, eliciting only through-the-looking-glass accusations from the CNN commentator that the Israeli soldiers milling around outside had no respect for other people’s holy places.)
Palestinians also say Israel is “unfairly restricting access at the site,” as the Jewish state evidently limited male Muslim worshipers this past week, to those 50 and older, AP reports. This move “followed an uptick in violence in the area amid Palestinian claims that Israel is unilaterally widening access around the entrance to the site to accommodate larger numbers of Jewish worshipers.”
OMG! Large numbers of Jewish worshipers! How terrible!
In fact, Israelnationalnews.com reports that currently, Jewish prayer is forbidden on the Temple Mount, “again for fear of Muslim reactions.”
Jews are allowed to visit the holy site but can be arrested for praying “or even moving their lips in what appears to be prayer,” it notes.
So, to recap: The Palestinians are calling for the Jews to be banned from Judaism’s holiest site because Palestinians are likely to react violently to their presence, while there is nowhere, anywhere, that Muslims are forbidden to pray — not even in the middle of the Champs Elysee at rush hour.
This smacks to me of the same stuff from which comes the idea that women should be kept locked away behind walls or curtains or burqas because their presence could cause men to lose control of themselves and attack them.
In both cases, the problem clearly lies with the folks not in control of themselves and it is they that the international community must deal with.
This is the definition of terrorism, isn’t it? The fear that someone, or a gang of someones, will go on the proverbial war path if someone else does something they don’t like?
According to the Business Times, the Temple Mount was the home of the two Biblical Temples before their destruction and according to some Jewish traditions it is also the place where the creation of the world began. There is nowhere else in the entire world more important or holy for the Jewish people. The city of Jerusalem and this place are mentioned hundreds of time in the Bible.
Muslims say they revere the place, though it is not mentioned even once in their holy book, as the site from which the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven on a flying horse. After Mecca and Medina, it is considered Islam’s third holiest site.
So, on pain of pointing out the obvious, it would be wrong to punish the Jews for the Palestinians’ inability to behave like civilized people. To ban the Jews from their holiest site in favor of allowing the misbehaving Muslims access to not the first, not the second, but the third holiest site in Islam — a designation I’d bet was tacked on much later to justify the takeover of the area — would be wrong on any number of levels.
I’ll bet, though, that it will at least be considered seriously, and possibly even imposed, making Judaism’s holiest site, in the Jewish state’s ancient and current capital city off limits to Jews. Orwellian.
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