Archive for May 26th, 2010

“The Muslim Claim to Jerusalem” by Daniel Pipes

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

This is a dated article, but does bring some very important historical information to light concerning Islam’s supposed claim to Jerusalem.

The Camp David II summit and the “Aqsa intifada” that followed have confirmed what everyone had long known: Jerusalem is the knottiest issue facing Arab and Israeli negotiators.

In part, the problem is practical: the Palestinians insist that the capital of Israel serve as the capital of their future state too, something Israelis are loathe to accept. But mostly, the problem is religious: the ancient city has sacred associations for Jews and Muslims alike (and Christians too, of course; but Christians today no longer make an independent political claim to Jerusalem), and both insist on sovereignty over their overlapping sacred areas.

In Jerusalem, theological and historical claims matter; they are the functional equivalent to the deed to the city and have direct operational consequences. Jewish and Muslim connections to the city therefore require evaluation.

The Jewish connection to Jerusalem is an ancient and powerful one. Judaism made Jerusalem a holy city over three thousand years ago and through all that time Jews remained steadfast to it. Jews pray in its direction, mention its name constantly in prayers, close the Passover service with the wistful statement “Next year in Jerusalem,” and recall the city in the blessing at the end of each meal. The destruction of the Temple looms very large in Jewish consciousness; remembrance takes such forms as a special day of mourning, houses left partially unfinished, a woman’s makeup or jewelry left incomplete, and a glass smashed during the wedding ceremony. In addition, Jerusalem has had a prominent historical role, is the only capital of a Jewish state, and is the only city with a Jewish majority during the whole of the past century. In the words of its current mayor, Jerusalem represents “the purist expression of all that Jews prayed for, dreamed of, cried for, and died for in the two thousand years since the destruction of the Second Temple.”

What about Muslims? Where does Jerusalem fit in Islam and Muslim history? It is not the place to which they pray, is not once mentioned by name in prayers, and it is connected to no mundane events in Muhammad’s life. The city never served as capital of a sovereign Muslim state, and it never became a cultural or scholarly center. Little of political import by Muslims was initiated there.

One comparison makes this point most clearly: Jerusalem appears in the Jewish Bible 669 times and Zion (which usually means Jerusalem, sometimes the Land of Israel) 154 times, or 823 times in all. The Christian Bible mentions Jerusalem 154 times and Zion 7 times. In contrast, the columnist Moshe Kohn notes, Jerusalem and Zion appear as frequently in the Qur’an “as they do in the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita, the Taoist Tao-Te Ching, the Buddhist Dhamapada and the Zoroastrian Zend Avesta”—which is to say, not once.

The city being of such evidently minor religious importance, why does it now loom so large for Muslims, to the point that a Muslim Zionism seems to be in the making across the Muslim world? Why do Palestinian demonstrators take to the streets shouting “We will sacrifice our blood and souls for you, Jerusalem” and their brethren in Jordan yell “We sacrifice our blood and soul for Al-Aqsa”? Why does King Fahd of Saudi Arabia call on Muslim states to protect “the holy city [that] belongs to all Muslims across the world”? Why did two surveys of American Muslims find Jerusalem their most pressing foreign policy issue?

Because of politics. An historical survey shows that the stature of the city, and the emotions surrounding it, inevitably rises for Muslims when Jerusalem has political significance. Conversely, when the utility of Jerusalem expires, so does its status and the passions about it. This pattern first emerged during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad in the early seventh century. Since then, it has been repeated on five occasions: in the late seventh century, in the twelfth century Countercrusade, in the thirteenth century Crusades, during the era of British rule (1917-48), and since Israel took the city in 1967. The consistency that emerges in such a long period provides an important perspective on the current confrontation.

The first Umayyad ruler, Mu’awiya, chose Jerusalem as the place where he ascended to the caliphate; he and his successors engaged in a construction program – religious edifices, a palace, and roads – in the city. The Umayyads possibly had plans to make Jerusalem their political and administrative capital; indeed, Elad finds that they in effect treated it as such. But Jerusalem is primarily a city of faith, and, as the Israeli scholar Izhak Hasson explains, the “Umayyad regime was interested in ascribing an Islamic aura to its stronghold and center.” Toward this end (as well as to assert Islam’s presence in its competition with Christianity), the Umayyad caliph built Islam’s first grand structure, the Dome of the Rock, right on the spot of the Jewish Temple, in 688-91. This remarkable building is not just the first monumental sacred building of Islam but also the only one that still stands today in roughly its original form.

The next Umayyad step was subtle and complex, and requires a pause to note a passage of the Qur’an (17:1) describing the Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey to heaven (isra’):

Glory to He who took His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque to the furthest mosque. (Subhana allathina asra bi-‘abdihi laylatan min al-masjidi al-harami ila al-masjidi al-aqsa.)

When this Qur’anic passage was first revealed, in about 621, a place called the Sacred Mosque already existed in Mecca. In contrast, the “furthest mosque” was a turn of phrase, not a place. Some early Muslims understood it as metaphorical or as a place in heaven. And if the “furthest mosque” did exist on earth, Palestine would seem an unlikely location, for many reasons. Some of them:

Elsewhere in the Qur’an (30:1), Palestine is called “the closest land” (adna al-ard).

Palestine had not yet been conquered by the Muslims and contained not a single mosque.

The “furthest mosque” was apparently identified with places inside Arabia: either Medina or a town called Ji’rana, about ten miles from Mecca, which the Prophet visited in 630.

The earliest Muslim accounts of Jerusalem, such as the description of Caliph ‘Umar’s reported visit to the city just after the Muslims conquest in 638, nowhere identify the Temple Mount with the “furthest mosque” of the Qur’an.

The Qur’anic inscriptions that make up a 240-meter mosaic frieze inside the Dome of the Rock do not include Qur’an 17:1 and the story of the Night Journey, suggesting that as late as 692 the idea of Jerusalem as the lift-off for the Night Journey had not yet been established. (Indeed, the first extant inscriptions of Qur’an 17:1 in Jerusalem date from the eleventh century.)

Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiya (638-700), a close relative of the Prophet Muhammad, is quoted denigrating the notion that the prophet ever set foot on the Rock in Jerusalem; “these [edited] Syrians,” by which he means the Umayyads, “pretend that God put His foot on the Rock in Jerusalem, though [only] one person ever put his foot on the rock, namely Abraham.”

Then, in 715, to build up the prestige of their dominions, the Umayyads did a most clever thing: they built a second mosque in Jerusalem, again on the Temple Mount, and called this one the Furthest Mosque (al-masjid al-aqsa, Al-Aqsa Mosque). With this, the Umayyads retroactively gave the city a role in Muhammad’s life. This association of Jerusalem with al-masjid al-aqsa fit into a wider Muslim tendency to identify place names found in the Qur’an: “wherever the Koran mentions a name of an event, stories were invented to give the impression that somehow, somewhere, someone, knew what they were about.”

Despite all logic (how can a mosque built nearly a century after the Qur’an was received establish what the Qur’an meant?), building an actual Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Palestinian historian A. L. Tibawi writes, “gave reality to the figurative name used in the Koran.” It also had the hugely important effect of inserting Jerusalem post hoc into the Qur’an and making it more central to Islam. Also, other changes resulted. Several Qur’anic passages were re-interpreted to refer to this city. Jerusalem came to be seen as the site of the Last Judgment. The Umayyads cast aside the non-religious Roman name for the city, Aelia Capitolina (in Arabic, Iliya) and replaced it with Jewish-style names, either Al-Quds (The Holy) or Bayt al-Maqdis (The Temple). They sponsored a form of literature praising the “virtues of Jerusalem,” a genre one author is tempted to call “Zionist.” Accounts of the prophet’s sayings or doings (Arabic: hadiths, often translated into English as “Traditions”) favorable to Jerusalem emerged at this time, some of them equating the city with Mecca. There was even an effort to move the pilgrimage (hajj) from Mecca to Jerusalem.

Scholars agree that the Umayyads’ motivation to assert a Muslim presence in the sacred city had a strictly utilitarian purpose. The Iraqi historian Abdul Aziz Duri finds “political reasons” behind their actions. Hasson concurs:

The construction of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque, the rituals instituted by the Umayyads on the Temple Mount and the dissemination of Islamic-oriented Traditions regarding the sanctity of the site, all point to the political motives which underlay the glorification of Jerusalem among the Muslims.

Thus did a politically-inspired Umayyad building program lead to the Islamic sanctification of Jerusalem.

Read the complete article here.

“Lest we forget [who owns] Jerusalem” by Stan Goodenough

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

It is not all that unusual for an Israeli politician to garnish his or her speeches with a verse or even two from the Bible (the Tanach or “Old Testament.”) Religious and non-religious Jew alike will dip into the most famous and cherished Hebrew-language original to underscore a message to their people.

Prime ministers have also used the Bible to encourage Christian visitors to Israel to continue and increase their support of the Jewish state.

Somewhat less common is the practice of using the scriptures in the Knesset (Israeli parliament) to buttress one side of a political debate.

When, on Jerusalem Day last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dared reference the Holy Book in defense of the Jews’ claim to the city, the response was predictably harsh.

According to Reuters, Netanyahu told a parliamentary session commemorating the 1967 return of Jerusalem to Jewish control that “Jerusalem” and its alternative Hebrew name “Zion” appear 850 times in the Tanach.

“As to how many times Jerusalem is mentioned in the holy scriptures of other faiths, I recommend you check,” he said.

But when an Arab Knesset member challenged him, the news wire reported: Netanyahu “offered a lesson in comparative religion from the lectern.”

“Because you asked: Jerusalem is mentioned 142 times in the New Testament, and none of the 16 various Arabic names for Jerusalem is mentioned in the Koran. But in an expanded interpretation of the Koran from the 12th century, one passage is said to refer to Jerusalem,” he said.

The indisputable fact was too much for PLO chief negotiator Sa’eb Erekat, who fired off this sanctimonious response:

“I find it very distasteful, this use of religion to incite hatred and fear,” said the man whose organization has a long and unbroken record of stirring hatred, and perpetrating and “justifying” acts of terrorism with references from the Quran.

“East Jerusalem is an occupied Palestinian town, and East Jerusalem cannot continue to be occupied if there is to be peace,” he added, unblushingly warning that “Palestinians” will continue to kill Jews as long as Jews insist that all Jerusalem is their capital.

No surprises there.

Netanyahu was quite correct in saying that there is not a single mention of Jerusalem in the Quran, whereas the Bible mentions the city nearly 1000 times.

Using an online Bible with a search engine, I sought to determine not just how many times this city is mentioned, but what is actually said about Jerusalem on some of these pages. This is what I learned…

———–

In the year AD 135, Jerusalem was flattened, and every last Jew finally driven from it. The Jews were also banned from entering the pagan city of Aelio Capitolina which the Emperor Hadrian built in Jerusalem’s stead.

By that time Jerusalem had been this nation’s capital for a total of 1091 years.

It was Rome’s avowed aim to eradicate every last Jewish link to, and interest in, Jerusalem. But what was achieved was the opposite. For the next 1832 years, wherever they were scattered on the face of the planet, and in the face of often-extreme persecution and suffering, the Jews clung to the belief in their return.

———-

Which nation was God determined to punish when their fathers provoked Him to wrath? Israel.

Which nation did God promise to return to the Land of Israel from all the lands to which He scattered them? Israel.

Which nation does He restore to Jerusalem, before judging the rest of the nations concerning their treatment of this nation and its land? Israel.

I could carry on and on. SO FULL is the Bible of references to Jerusalem, to its rightful people and to their God.

Sa’eb Erakat may find this distasteful, but as a Muslim, and as a spokesman for millions of Muslims who hate Israel and wish to appropriate Jerusalem for themselves, he worships the wrong god, one who has no power to take Jerusalem from the Jews.

Hey, his god doesn’t even care about Jerusalem! Allah’s total lack of reference to this city in their “holy” book makes this clear.

Jerusalem belongs to Israel – exclusively and for always.

Now, if only its leaders would reference the Bible when it comes to the other critical issues they have to deal with – like the right to the Land of Israel – all of it.

Read the complete article here.

“Obama and The New International Order” by Michael G. Mickey

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Speaking recently at West Point, President Obama called for what he referred to as a “new international order”, a new world order if you will. Anyone surprised by that, in light of recent events as compared to bible prophecy? I know I’m not.

While witnessing what we have of late has been near physically painful to observe, from President Obama’s world apology tour, during which he traveled the globe to bow before and apologize to practically every leader he could find for America being the great nation it has been, to his disenfranchisement with the nation of Israel to his tanking of the US economy’s future through outrageous spending that is unsustainable, President Obama and his administration seems to be steering the U.S.A. toward what seems to be its prophetic destiny.

Finding the United States in end times bible prophecy is near impossible, at least if one is looking to see the U.S. as a superpower. Rather, bible prophecy foresees the global empire of the prophesied Antichrist to come (Revelation 13:7) as a key power, an empire which is going to include the European Union at the very least, along with Israel, the “kings of the east” (Revelation 16:12), the “king of the north” (Daniel 11:40) and the “king of the south” (Daniel 11:40).

While we don’t know with specificity who all of the key end times players listed above will consist of, they will be locatable from the perspective of the nation of Israel at the time these prophecies are fulfilled. So where do we see the United States in that picture? North of Israel? South of Israel? East of Israel? No, no and no. It is for that reason I conclude that if the U.S. is going to exist as a major player in the last of the last days, it is likely going to be as a component of the Antichrist’s empire, a scenario which I would point out as capable of instantly giving the prophesied Antichrist the military might we see him in possession of in end times prophecy. This is not a pleasant thought for those of us who love the U.S.A., but worthy of consideration as a possibility at the very least, primarily because NATO, which the United States is the lynch pin of, is located in Brussels, Belgium, as are the vast majority of the EU’s major institutions.

With both the dollar and the euro presently in crisis and the West clamoring to bring peace to the Middle East, particularly at the expense of Israel, the prophetic scenario foretold long ago is making better sense by the minute, isn’t it?

For decades, respected biblical scholars examining bible prophecy have anticipated a decline coming for the United States. I’d be remiss not to point out that President Obama is doing everything he can, seemingly, to accomplish that end for the U.S. whether he knows it or not. It’s a foreseeable future because of Obama’s increasing willingness to align the United States with the international community that respects us little and, most worrisome of all, openly anti-Israel organizations which threaten to bring the curse of Genesis 12:3 upon our nation.

Read the complete article here.

Parents of Rifqa Bary, Christian Convert from Islam, Refuse Proper Cancer Treatment for Daughter

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Yesterday we blogged about latest trial to befall Rifqa Bary, the teen who ran away from home, in fear of her life, after she converted from Islam to Christianity. She has now been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of uterine cancer.
I found it odd that the treatment did not include an immediate hysterectomy, and now I understand why.
As it turns out, even though Rifqa is in foster care, her parents are still responsible for making decisions concerning her health care. It was their decision to have the doctors remove the tumors instead of doing the more radical, but more successful, hysterectomy.
Of course, this current course of treatment is what one would expect from a devout Muslim. Let me explain.
A woman is the property of the Muslim man. She is the property of her father, or brother if the father is not around, until she is married, then she becomes the property of her husband.
If Rifqa’s parents hope to have any chance of marring Rifqa to a Muslim man, they have to maintain her ability to have children. A barren woman is worthless as a wife to Muslims. Her fate would be to forever live with her parents, serving them. The “dishonor” she has caused them would be compounded.
Another thought could be that they intend to use the cancer to rid them of their “dishonorable” daughter once for for all.
Continue to pray for this brave young lady.

Fathima Bary

There has been a terrible development in the case of Rifqa Bary, the teenage girl who fled from her home in fear for her life after her devout Muslim father found out she had become a Christian. According to Rifqa, who is now in foster care in Ohio, she has been diagnosed with advanced uterine cancer.

While this is a tragedy, how Rifqa is being victimized by her lawyers and her parents is nothing less than an atrocity. Her lawyers kept her in the dark about her condition — despite the seriousness of her cancer — for well over a week while they conferred with her parents and their CAIR-appointed lawyers about her treatment. While most cases like this result in a hysterectomy, Rifqa is only having the advanced malignancy removed. From what I understand, the survival rate in cases like these is only five percent.

Was she allowed to get a second opinion? No.

While she was lying ill, her lawyers brought her parents to her hospital bed. She was awaiting treatment and when she saw them, whereupon she became very agitated and upset. Her parents had to be removed.

One thing that has happened as a result of this terrible development is that Rifqa has broken her silence, a silence mandated by her lawyers. For some time now, she could not talk to her friends, such as her close friend and fellow convert from Islam, Jamal Jivanjee, or to those of us who have not wavered in our support for her civil rights and religious liberty.

She reached out to Jamal, who reports that “Rifqa has already had two surgeries at this point, and she is getting ready to undergo a third surgery which will be occurring this Thursday, May 27. … As soon as Rifqa heals from the major surgery that she will undergo this Thursday, it is expected that she will need to undergo several rounds of chemotherapy. Although she has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, the extent of her condition will be known after this Thursday’s surgery.”

Now Rifqa is scared, and with good reason. Says Jamal, “Her situation is very serious, and she will need the help of many people in the weeks and months ahead.” Her entire legal strategy, of which I have been critical, was directed at keeping her safe and securing her immigration status. Now here we are at the end of May, and this strategy is obviously an abysmal failure: Rifqa has no immigration status.

Rifqa’s legal strategy has been reactive, not proactive. Her lawyers have been kept busy responding to motions filed by Omar Tarazi, who was chosen for the Barys by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group that was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case.

The worst example of how Tarazi fooled Rifqa’s lawyers was that he compelled them to have Rifqa plead guilty to “unruliness” to secure dependency, and then reneged on his part of the deal once the guilty plea had been entered. The guilty plea continues to have negative ramifications for those who love Rifqa and have helped her. With the “unruly” plea as a pretext, criminal investigations are proceeding, and charges are pending against people who helped Rifqa, such as Brian Williams and Blake and Beverly Lorenz, who helped Rifqa when she fled from her home.

What Tarazi is doing is running out the clock so that Rifqa will be without immigration status when she turns 18 this August. Will authorities then deport her?

There is no way of knowing for sure, but CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood reportedly have infiltrated senior levels at the State Department so deeply that it is a distinct possibility.

And in Sri Lanka, as Rifqa herself has said, she could be killed or institutionalized, with no unwelcome scrutiny interfering in the application of Islamic law.

Jamal Jivanjee explains: “Many people have thought that her eighteenth birthday would be a cause of celebration because she would be free of the immediate threat of being placed under the control of her devout Muslim parents.” But instead, “Rifqa will be facing many challenges when she turns 18 on August 10.” Upon her birthday in August 2010, she will be an illegal alien in need of serious chemotherapy and cancer treatment.

This is a horror. Everyone has failed Rifqa: her parents, her lawyers, the state of Florida, the state of Ohio, child protective services.

I ask all readers to keep Rifqa in your prayers.

Original Link.

As distasteful as it is, I need all of you to be aware of what is being said, on one Islamic website, about Rifqa’s situation.

UPDATE: Look at what Muslim websites are saying.

http://forums.islamicawakening.com/f38/riqfa-bary-apostate-has-cancer-now-loool-35579/

I am sure you have heard of this little sell out whore who ran away with a grown man wqho is christian after sleeping with him and left islam so she can “worship god in her knees”. Well…..it seems her prayers came true. This little piggy now has uterine cancer.

Original Link.

See our previous post about Rifqa Bary.
Rifqa Bary, Christian Convert from Islam, Faces Cancer Treatment.
Rifqa Fights to Stay in the U.S..
Rifqa’s Immigration Status Tenuous.
Pastor: Threats Against Rifqa Serious.
Muslim Parents of Teen Christian Convert Renege on Custody Agreement.
Runaway Christian Convert to Remain Free of Parents, Judge Rules.
Rifqa Bary Case Takes a Positive Turn.
Court Issues Reunification Plan in Rifqa Bary Case.
Rifqa Bary Returns to Columbus.
Hamas-Linked CAIR Supervised Police Interview of Rifqa Bary’s Parents on Abuse Allegations.
Florida Investigation Finds No Credible Threat to Teen Christian Convert.
Teen Christian Convert Who Fled Muslim Family Gets Online Threat.
Muslim Teen Who Converted to Christianity Says Family Threatened to Kill Her.
Updated: Judge Decides Fate of Honor Student, Cheerleader Who Fears “Honor Killing” After Converting to Christianity.
Parents of Muslim Teen Who Converted to Christianity Have Ties to Mosque of Alleged Terrorist.
Political Asylum Suggested for Rifqa Bary, Teen ‘Muslim to Christian’ Convert.
Teen ‘Muslim to Christian’ Convert Order Back to Ohio by Florida Judge.
Rifqa Investigation Ignored Facts About Islam.

In Remembrance of Sarah and Amina Said. Stop Muslim “Honor” KillingsIn Remembrance of Noor Faleh Almaleki. Stop Muslim “Honor” Killings
In Remembrance of Sarah & Amina Said and Noor Faleh Almalek.
Don’t let this become a memorial to Rifqa Bary as well. Stop Muslim “Honor” Killings Before They Happen!!