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Do Muslims and Jews have equal freedom of religion under Israel's rule?

After a group of settlers attacked a mosque in one of the villages of Ramallah in the West Bank, the Israeli army put checkpoints at the entrances of the closest settlement and checked the identity of every person going in or out of the settlement. On grounds of fear of escalation the police in Jerusalem decided to allow Jewish worshipers entrance to the Western wall only for those above fifty years of age. Many Jewish leaders protested the actions of the police especially as the closure of the Western Wall coincides with the Jewish high holidays. The police pointed out to possible violence from young settlers if they enter the Western Wall plaza and claimed that their decision is essential for security purposes.

Don’t freak out. The above news didn’t happen. But Imagine, if the police did indeed limit Jewish worshipers from entering the Western Wall. There had been terror attacks carried by settlers in the past, but it has never led to any police actions similar to whats mentioned in the paragraph above. If such an action was to be carried by the police, It would be reported on the front page of every newspaper in Israel and perhaps in the world.

Would Israel ever limit Jewish worshipers in high holidays period from entering the Western wall? I doubt it. It could be the start of a civil war. Jews around the world would be enraged by such a decision regardless of any security justification. It would be considered as a collective punishment and a non democratic action.

But when it comes to Muslims, the standards in Israel are a little bit different.

Last week, after the terror attack in Sinai, 300 KM south of Jerusalem, The Israeli police decided to collectively punish the Muslims in Jerusalem. The Israeli authorities imposed tight restrictions on access to the mosque. The police prevented men under the age of fifty years from accessing the Aqsa mosque to pray. The Israeli police set up roadblocks at the entrances of Jerusalem’s old city and checked the identities of the worshipers before being allowed to pass. The feeling of discrimination and humiliation was intense among young Palestinians which led to clashes between thousands of Palestinians and the Israeli policemen. Police used tear gas to disperse the worshipers.

Al Aqsa mosque is the holiest mosque for Muslims in Palestine and is the third holiest mosque for Muslims across the world. In the Month of Ramadan hundreds of thousands of Palestinians come to pray in Al-Aqsa. West Bank Palestinians can come to prayer only if they receive a permit from the Israeli Authorities.  Since the start of the second Intifada, Israel restricted the access to the mosque according to age qualifications. The Israeli decision was justified as a security need.

In the last few weeks, Muslims from Israel, Jerusalem and some west bank residents were allowed to pray in Al-Aqsa mosque without causing any problems. However, after the Sinai attack, the Israeli police decided without presenting any justifications that it was too dangerous to allow young Muslims to pray in the mosque.

Israel’s claim to be a place that guarantees freedom of religion is questionable in light of its treatment of Muslims.  The fact that the state of Israel doesn’t hesitate in limiting Muslim worshipers from entering their holiest place in the country cannot be viewed as a tolerant or democratic action. If Israel is to keep calling itself a democracy, it should behave as one. Israel is failing its democratic values and claims when it comes to its treatment of the minorities.

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    1. aristeides

      Jews and Jews don’t even have equal freedom of religion in Israel. Nowhere but Saudi Arabia and Israel can Jews be arrested for trying to pray in public.

      Reply to Comment
    2. David

      How many mosques or masjids have been built in Israel proper in the last 62 years? I suspect it would be a number the David Project would love.

      Reply to Comment
    3. aristeides

      Israel is demolishing mosques. iirc the number of permits issued for new mosque construction has been 0.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Sylvia

      In order to draw the conclusion that Jews and Muslims don’t have equal freedom of religion in Israel, you will have to prove that the number of worshippers is restricted IN EVERY MOSQUE “under israeli rule”. And you know this is not the case. This applies to Al aqsa only.
      Yet, what you omit to mention, is that with all the age restrictions, there still were 120,000 worshippers at Al Aqsa last Friday, not including planned “protests” in the old city. How many more can that small area contain and yet permit pious Muslims to pray in peace? 500 000? One million? Two?
      And who garantees that one Islamic Jihad or another won’t take advantage of the large crowd to start riots and perhaps worse?
      This is not the first time you omit information that could shed light on the situation for your readers.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Ben Israel

      The Jewish government of the Jewish state prevents Jews from praying at the holiest site in Judaism, which is the Temple Mount in deference to “Muslim senitivities”. In other words, Israel discriminates against Jewish religous practices in order to placate Muslim extremism.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Taoist

      How many more can that small area contain and yet permit pious Muslims to pray in peace? 500 000? One million? Two?


      Who cares? That’s not your business.

      The issue here is, they are restricted by the IOF/Police from worshiping at their holiest site, period.

      And even when the article doesn’t touch upon another form of religious sacrilege, the burning of mosques by the barbarian settlers, they are both part of the effort, official and otherwise, to choke Muslims’s freedom of worship.

      There is no equivalent in the world to what Israel does to Muslims in Jerusalem and the W.B., other than going back in history to what the Nazis did to the Jews.


      Deja vu, all over again?


      Reply to Comment
    7. Ben Israel

      Can we forget the crazed Arab mobs that torched Josephs Tomb in Shechem (Nablus) in 2000 after Israel soldier Madhat Yusuf bled to death because Barak and Mofaz failed to reach a business agreement with Jibril Rajoub over how much money Rajoub was demanding to allow the IDF to rescue him. The building and the holy books inside were completely destroyed. The Muslims announced a mosque would be built on the site. Interestingly enough the Vatican protested (I don’t know if Barak particularly cared) noting that it was rather disturbing to see how Muslims treat the holy sites of other religions. Fortunately, it has been rebuilt.
      Then there are the Jews who were visiting Jordan and were told their tefillin ( a religious article) would not be allowed intoo the country….”offensive to Muslim sensitivities”. Then there were the Jewish religious gatherings at the graves of various famous Rabbis in Egypt that were cancelled “because they offended Muslim religous sensitivities”. THen there are the restrictions on building churches in Egypt because “they offend Muslim religious sensitivities”. Then there are the severe restrictions on freedom of worship of non-Muslims in Saudi Arabis “because they offend Muslim senstitivies”. Then there is the disappearance of the Jewish communities from Arab countries over the last decades, and the rapid decline in the Christian population in many of them, including the Palestinian territories, in spite of the “famous Muslim tolerance for other religions” while in “INTOLERANT” Israel and the western Christian countries, the Muslim population is INCREASING. Shall I go on?

      Reply to Comment
    8. Mitchell Cohen

      Talk about hypocrisy. A Jew or a Christian are seen praying on the Temple Mount and they are subject to arrest on the spot. The silence is deafening. Joseph’s Tomb was destroyed. The silence is deafening. Israel is not white and the Jews are not sinless, but this article is pretty one-sided (not shocking, of course, but still).

      Reply to Comment
    9. Taoist

      @ B.I.

      As the proverbial king of non-sequitor, B.I. conveniently “forgets” we are talking about Jerusalem and the, ehem, “only democracy” in the ME, not about Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, etc., who are not at all “democracies.”

      Then again, he is always comparing his “only Jewish democracy” to the lowest common denominator, putting in evidence that his real “democratic” aspirations are always ready to compete with the lowest levels.

      Thanks for making that clear, B.I. You are a jewel of a gift that keeps on giving.



      Reply to Comment
    10. Taoist

      And talking about the destruction of holy sites and freedom of worship,



      Palestine’s UN Observer Calls to Stop Destruction of Historical Cemetery in Jerusalem

      NEWYORK, August 10, 2011(WAFA) – Palestine’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations (UN), Riyad Mansour urged Wednesday the international community to take action to stop the continues destruction of ‘Ma’man Allah’ historical cemetery in East Jerusalem, by the Israeli government.

      Mansour urged the international community to condemn the Israeli construction of the so-called “Center for Human Dignity – Museum of Tolerance” over the buried Muslims in the cemetery.[…]

      […]He said that “it’s ironic that the names of the center and the museum contradict with this act, which represents contempt and intolerance to human dignity and values.”

      He added that there are a lot of international human rights conventions, which guarantee the protection of cultural heritage and properties, including religious sites, such as cemeteries.

      He indicated that the construction over the cemetery constitute a violation of the basic human rights stated in the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination agreement.[…]


      Soooooo much for the “only Jewish democracy” in the ME, eh?


      Reply to Comment
    11. Mark

      I still wonder how your claim of the “third holiest site” passes even on this site without challenge. Please cite where that is mentioned in your holy book The Koran? Specifics please… no dreams on horses that could be anywhere.

      As for your complaint about the restrictions, don’t let minor things like history get in the way of the reasons for why the authorities do the things they do. Seems like they might know a few things like who the instigators are who are the ones that try to throw rocks down on Jewish worshipers at the wall for example. And I’d bet they are all males below the age of 50! Sounds like the authorities know how to prevent violence from occurring and people from getting hurt.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Sylvia

      “There is no equivalent in the world to what Israel does to Muslims in Jerusalem and the W.B., other than going back in history to what the Nazis did to the Jews.”

      Now that you’ve said your daily prayer, can you address the question of logistics? I won’t be holding my breath for an answer. You still have the list of “Israeli atrocities” to recite before bedtime.

      Reply to Comment
    13. jjj

      You’re dripping hot oil to an explosive mixture.

      Question is what would happen if the prayers were not limited to ages less than 50.
      Say Muslims of all ages are allowed.
      What would happen?
      What will the Imam preach after the attacks in the previous weekend?

      You forget to mention the acts of demolishing archaeological records underneath and near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, trying to erase any evidence of past Jewish presence.
      You also don’t mention Jews are not allowed in the Mosque, nor any other non-Muslims – how’s that for a freedom of practice?
      You forgotten that Muslims riots have happened in the past, where stones were thrown towards Jewish praying in the western wall, and numerous other acts.

      Waving the non-equal rights for practicing religion clearly doesn’t cut it – as it hides past history of violence, and clearly, the age limit is just that, reducing the potential for clashes.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Bosko

      At least Taoist admits that there isn’t a single Arab country that is a democracy. Good for you Taoist for admitting the truth.
      But he then does the next best thing that he can do. He pretends that Israel is not a democracy either.
      How does he do it? By talking about what is happening in the West Bank. Of course there isn’t a democracy in the West Bank. The West Bank is not part of Israel and the people of the West Bank are not and never were Israeli citizens. In fact, less than a decade ago they conducted a spate of suicide bombings against Israeli citizens and sometimes they still do. That’s why they are subject to security restrictions.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Taoist

      Now that you’ve said your daily prayer, can you address the question of logistics? I won’t be holding my breath for an answer. You still have the list of “Israeli atrocities” to recite before bedtime.


      Logistics is not your business either. It only becomes your issue because you talk from the POV of the occupier, who assumes need to “manage” Palestinians’ daily life, to perpetuate their control over the OT, and their plundering of their land.

      But since “logistics” appear to be, ehem, “the problem” for you, I will share some solutions with you. Here in the US, an imperfect democracy, but not a fake one, you will see that during Ramadan, Jewish synagogues and Christian churches open their parking lots and church spaces to accommodate the excess of Muslims who are unable to enter their mosques. That might be a sacrilegious idea to you, seeing the “chosen people” mixing up with the “gentiles,” but hey, fortunately this is America, and dreams happen here you know.




      We are ONE NATION UNDER GOD, and freedom of religion is enshrined in our constitution, and we don’t allow beliefs of ethnic, racial, or religious superiority from anyone upon another.

      From your “logistical problem” mindset, I can see that probably won’t happen in Israel, but life is a miracle, and the only immutable law is change, whether we like it or not. A lot of things are changing in Israel too, despite all of those who are struggling to hold back the clock, spitting their bigoted venom in sites like this day in and day out.

      Please, don’t hold your breath for too long, it may affect your brain cells permanently.

      And if you don’t like to read about your, ehem, “only democracy” list of atrocities, don’t do forums. It might be dangerous to your health.


      PS: FYI, in case you don’t know, we Taoists don’t do “daily prayers,” a totally different concept altogether.

      Reply to Comment
    16. directrob

      You are projecting Israeli crimes onto your victims.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Taoist

      At least Taoist admits that there isn’t a single Arab country that is a democracy. Good for you Taoist for admitting the truth.


      Oh, well, B., guess your discovery has made you the 2011 recipient of the Darwin Award…enjoy…

      C’ya all later. It’s been fun, as usual. 🙂


      Reply to Comment
    18. Bosko

      @Taoist – My discovery? Which discovery is that, Toist?

      Reply to Comment
    19. Taoist

      You also don’t mention Jews are not allowed in the Mosque, nor any other non-Muslims – how’s that for a freedom of practice?


      I am not a Muslim, and I don’t know their rules, same with Judaism. But I am sure that no religion would like anyone to come to their holy sites to provoke and insult while they are worshiping.

      And if Jews are not allowed in the mosque, what were these extremists doing at Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan?



      JERUSALEM, August 23, 2011 (WAFA) – Israeli police accompanying extremist Jewish group, arrested on Tuesday five Palestinians, who live in the 1948 land (under Israeli control),while they were Praying in the Dome of the Rock, for protesting against the entrance of the extremists, and another Palestinian on a checkpoint set at al-Ezariya, a village south east of Jerusalem, witnesses said.[…]

      […] To be noted, the Israeli authorities used to prevent Jews and tourists from entering al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan in previous years, however, this year they dared to allow them to enter, a matter which provokes the feelings of the Muslims and worshipers, who go to the mosque for the five daily prayers and on the different religious rituals.


      And then the Israeli police arrests the Muslims?

      Wow! I am amazed at your “only democracy” in the ME. If we were to apply US justice system to Israel, you would all end up in prison for multiple violations of freedom of worship, freedom of expression, etc., etc., etc.

      Bye now.


      Reply to Comment
    20. Mark

      Taoist, I have read everything you have posted here and you have not addressed the primary issue for the reasons that the authorities restrict males, under the age of 50 from entering the Temple Mount area (side note: an area that has been pointed out here is also forbidden for me as a Jew from entering as well). It is not to keep these Muslim faithful from worshiping (second side note: it IS to keep me, a faithful Jew from worshiping there!), it is to keep them from boiling over in a rage, as they have done in the past, rioting and throwing rocks on the Jews worshiping below at the Western Wall. You keep trying to make this out as some kind of racist issue when its not! The discrimination here is discrimination against TROUBLE MAKERS. People who have demonstrated such actions before. This is a preventative measure. We do not have these same issues in the U.S. today, but if we had such experiences, I’d bet our law enforcement would find similar ways to deal with them.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Bosko

      @Taoist – “And then the Israeli police arrests the Muslims?
      Wow! I am amazed at your “only democracy” in the ME”
      Wow … Is there any law written that the police can’t arrest a person who professes the Muslim faith if they break the law?

      Reply to Comment
    22. Mark

      I did not see your above post about the Extremists being escorted in (Provocative ARGH!)… I still stand by the other parts of my post.

      Reply to Comment
    23. For three weeks before the attack young Muslims prayed in the mosque and no violence happened. So there is no reason to assume that violence would happen unless you one of those who believe Mulsims are violent by nature.

      Basing decisions of limiting Muslims to pray in the mosque on things that happened in 2000 is pathetic. Can we ever move forward?

      Some here seem to believe that Muslims done bad things years ago and therefore shouldn’t complain when Israel pays them back today. its okay for the IDF to do unjust things to Muslims today. So it is not about security but about revenge which is why this conflict keeps going on.

      By the way, Jews are allowed to visit the mosque but an agreement that was signed by Moshe Dayan after Israel occupied East Jerusalem restricted Jews from praying at the mosque. You should look it up. It was Moshe Dayan that was behind restricting Jews from praying at the mosque. And that was smart… Can Muslims or Christians hold prayer service at Jewish holy sites? I think not.

      As for the question about the mosque being the third holiest site in Islam. It is not in the Quran but it is in the Hadith which is a holy text for Muslims. In Jewish equivalent, the hadith is similar to what the Talmud or the Mishnah is.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Apa

      Re: Bosko.
      Are you saying that the settlers are not Israeli citizens? Or are you saying that only some people on the west bank are Israeli citizens, entirely based on their ethnicity?

      Reply to Comment
    25. Sylvia

      You’re evading the issue. 120,000 Muslims prayed in that mosque last Friday with all the age restrictions, and it was packed inside and out. The mosque holds 5000 max and I don’t know how much the yards hold but surely there must be a limit somewhere. Are you saying the number of worshippers should be unlimited?

      Reply to Comment
    26. @Sylvia
      In the first couple weeks of Ramadan up to 200,000 people prayed there and there were no problem. I remember before the year 2000 about 350,000 people were able to pray there. The mosque for Muslims does include the yard around it. In the Quran it says that God blessed the mosque and ground around it.

      So, Are you saying that Israel is limiting the number of people allowed in the mosque becuase there is no space? that is a new argument. I would like to know your sources.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Piotr Berman

      The same source (unedited al-Jazeera reposts of news sources)

      [ 06/08/2011 – 09:30 AM ]


      Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed the holy Aqsa Mosque at midnight Friday and forced Muslim worshippers out of it, the Quds media center said on its website on Saturday.

      It said that the soldiers encircled the mosque then broke into it forcing all those inside to evacuate the holy site at the pretext of violating Israeli police orders that no Muslim should remain in the mosque after the late night prayers until the dawn prayers the next day.

      The center noted that the Israeli security men inspect the holy site each night to ascertain that none remained inside then close all gates.


      A more amusing story was that an American Jew was not admitted to visit Israel on the suspicion that he converted to Islam. Subsequently, his lawyer disproved the faulty intelligence.


      Is it true that Jews are forbidden in the Noble Sanctuary? I was there and nobody asked me anything. I think that there are restrictions on the conduct, like visible non-Muslim prayers, or preparing for such prayers with specialized dress (some people seem to cover themselves with a variety of a beach towel prior to a prayer, and they are not Muslim, who would rather spread some fabric on the ground for the occasion).

      Reply to Comment
    28. The Aqsa and the plaza around it are an Islamic holy site that Jews, not just extremists but mainstream religious, believe should be removed/destroyed to make room for the future Third Temple. [in fact I’ve seen photos and brochures where the Dome of the Rock was photoshopped out from behind the Western Wall. Which is both spooky, and frightening]. Terrorists have, in many occasions, attacked, killed, and even set fire to the Aqsa.

      Add to it the sad precedent of the Abrahamic mosque in Al-Khalil (Hebron) – which, following a Jewish terrorist attack that left 29 dead and 125 injured, saw 2/3rds of the mosque sealed off from Muslims and made for Jewish worshippers only.

      Given that history and this Government-implemented precedent, it makes complete sense that Palestinian Muslims jealously guard the Aqsa complex.

      A final note re: the Aqsa being the 3rd holiest site – or not: Aziz gave the basic explanation above but more importantly, umm, that’s not up to anyone on this thread to challenge or argue! If I think it’s important to me then it is. Full stop. I don’t go around asking Bahai’s why the Gardens are important to them. Or why the Tomb of X prophet or Rabbi is important to others. I don’t go challenging you by going “but Rebbe X is not mentioned in the Torah!”. If it’s important to you, it’s important to you, and I honour that. I should be able to expect the same.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Taoist

      You’re evading the issue. 120,000 Muslims prayed in that mosque last Friday with all the age restrictions, and it was packed inside and out. The mosque holds 5000 max and I don’t know how much the yards hold but surely there must be a limit somewhere. Are you saying the number of worshippers should be unlimited?


      And why should you make an issue of how many people worship at a Muslim site? Shouldn’t you be concerned about your own religion?

      Or are you “preoccupied” that with all the tunneling Israelis have done under the Palestinian/Muslim holy sites, they will cave in under the sheer weight of too many worshipers?

      I don’t think so, so your concern is baseless, and has utter motivations, such as justifying the repressive policies against the Palestinians, and in this latest incident, to put a “price tag” on them, as Barak announced after the Eilat attack, for which the Palestinians were unfairly blamed.


      Reply to Comment
    30. Bosko

      @Apa – Settlers as you call them are Israeli citizens because they are Israelis who returned to their properties in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem which were taken away from them by Jordan in 1948.
      The Arabs outside of Jerusalem were never Israeli citizens so they are still not Israeli citizens.
      The Arabs who live in East Jerusalem were given the opportunity to become Israeli citizenship when East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel. Some took up the option some didn’t. Those who didn’t are not citizens, that’s only fair.

      Reply to Comment
    31. aristeides

      Bosko – you can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of Jews who actually owned property in Jerusalem in 1948 and returned to that property as a settler.

      The settlers come from Brooklyn, not Jerusalem.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Brett Papadakis

      Israel also discriminates against gays, lesbians and bisexuals. My friend from London who is a transvestite was spat on and ridiculed when he walked the streets of Ramat Aviv (north Tel Aviv). Shame on you Israelis!

      Reply to Comment
      • Paul Berman

        Individuals may behave badly indulging their predudices against LGBT community but it’s not the entire state of Israel-they recently hosted a “Gay Pride” parade. Even here in the US there are prejudiced people-humans are human everywhere. However,please honestly consider, in which ME Muslim country would would they not be arrested or possibly killed?

        Reply to Comment
    33. Mark

      Aziz… I do not profess to know what you know about your faith.. But I did do some reading based on your answer and it seems to be in conflict with a couple of sites that I read, Pipes being one. The common theme is that while the Mosque names are mentioned actually did not exist when they were written about in the Hadith, but came later. There can be no denying that they were built on what was once Jewish and Christian historical land. To deny Jewish claims denies Christian Palestinian claims of the same area. A flaw in the narrative. Here is the most comprehensive that I read. Even so, with your answer, my understanding of history was that no one spoke of Jerusalem being considered the “third Holiest site” until the 1940s. A modern title for those Mosques. True?

      The Crusader conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 initially aroused a very mild Muslim response. The Franks did not rate much attention; Arabic literature written in Crusader-occupied towns tended not even to mention them . Thus, “calls to jihad at first fell upon deaf ears,” writes Robert Irwin, formerly of the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Emmanuel Sivan of the Hebrew University adds that “one does not detect either shock or a sense of religious loss and humiliation.”

      Only as the effort to retake Jerusalem grew serious in about 1150 did Muslim leaders seek to rouse jihad sentiments through the heightening of emotions about Jerusalem. Using the means at their disposal (hadiths, “virtues of Jerusalem” books, poetry), their propagandists stressed the sanctity of Jerusalem and the urgency of its return to Muslim rule. Newly-minted hadiths made Jerusalem ever-more critical to the Islamic faith; one of them put words into the Prophet Muhammad’s mouth saying that, after his own death, Jerusalem’s falling to the infidels is the second greatest catastrophe facing Islam. Whereas not a single “virtues of Jerusalem” volume appeared in the period 1100-50, very many came out in the subsequent half century. In the 1160s, Sivan notes, “al-Quds propaganda blossomed”; and when Saladin (Salah ad-Din) led the Muslims to victory over Jerusalem in 1187, the “propaganda campaign . . . attained its paroxysm.” In a letter to his Crusader opponent, Saladin wrote that the city “is to us as it is to you. It is even more important to us.”

      Reply to Comment
    34. Mark

      @Mo-ha-med I disagree with you about that I can’t challenge the “Third Holiest Site” claim for this reason: The Waft and the PA teaches the Palestinians that there are NO Jewish connections to the Temple Mount, to Jerusalem, to the land at all. They challenge my religion’s well documented roots on that land. I have every right to look for proof to back up the historical claims such as the “Third Holiest Site” to Islam. If you believe it that is your right. I would like to see the facts.

      Reply to Comment
    35. @Mark
      I am not going to details of everything you mentioned, but I will give you some more details. First, I am weary when none of your sources are Muslim scholars. You know I can find a couple Muslim scholars who will have the same argument about Jewish or Christian sites in Jerusalem.

      Anyhow, here are couple sources for you.
      When Muslims started to pray, they prayed facing Jerusalem making it a very holy place for Muslims.

      In Hadith it says – Prayer in Alaqsa mosque is worth 500 prayers. thus making the place the third holiest site. There are only two mosques where prayers are counted more then 500 and they are in Saudi Arabia

      According to the Hadith In Islam only three mosques a Muslim should travel to, two is Saudi and Alaqsa in Jerusalem.

      As for building it. It is believed by some Muslims that the place became holy by Abraham who built a house for worship there.

      Now, this is not about facts vs. myth. I don’t have proofs for these things just like I don’t have a proof that Moses existed (He is in the Quran). This is about faith and Muslims believe these things whether you approve of it or not.

      Do you think Muslims today will listen to your argument that their holy places are not holy because some American and Israeli scholars said so? If you think so, then the same stand true about all religions. I know many scholars who think the exodus never happened. So is Judaism false?

      If you want to judge, then judge them all with the same standards. Or don’t judge at all.

      Reply to Comment
    36. Ben Israel

      Regarding the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hevron, it was built as a Jewish holy site at least 2000 years ago, if not more. After the Muslim conquest in which is was naturally converted into a mosque Jews were banned from entering AT ALL for the last 1000 years or so.
      Starting in 1994, MOST of the mosque was made off limits TO JEWS, unlike what Mo-ha-med says, including the main hall, the Ulam Yitzhak where the Minbar and Mihrab are located. On something like 11 days a year, each religion is given complete access to the whole building, during holidays.

      If, G-d forbid, Jerusalem is ever divided, Jewish access to the Western Wall and the other Jewish holy places in east Jerusalem will definitely be restricted. Olmert agreed to have the Western Wall, Jewish Quarter of the Old City , Mt of Olives, etc transferred from Israeli control to “International control” by a body including the US, Israel, the Palestinians, the Saudis (?!) and someone else. The Arabs will insist on a return to the onerous restrictions that existed at the Western Wall before 1948 , including banning blowing the Shofar, the Saudis and Paleestinians will support these restrictions, the US will be neutral and Israeli views will be isolated. Also, Israeli worshippers will be harrassed on the approaches to these places and in the event of this happening it will be necessary to convene the “international body” to decide what to do, and as a result NOTHING will be done to protect the Jewish worshippers.
      In the 1949 cease-fire agreements, the Jordanians promised to allow Jewish access to these places which they had control of and they immediately violated the agreement and, in addition, destroyed the Jewish sites in their possession. Israelis will NEVER agree to be in this position again.

      Reply to Comment
    37. Aziz Abu Sarah: “Basing decisions of limiting Muslims to pray in the mosque on things that happened in 2000 is pathetic. Can we ever move forward?”
      That’s the horribly hard question, Aziz. That question transcends Jew and Arab. It is the right question, in my view.
      There is an American movie (I apologize) from the heated racial civil rights days called “Watermelon man,” in which a bigoted white guy wakes up to find himself black. I wish this could happen to both Believing Jews and Muslims today. I wish it could happen to most of your commentators. Drawing lines in the sand is fun, but that’s all it is.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Mark

      Aziz, I understand it says to pray to Al-aqsa, I am just not sure from what I have seen that the Hadith came before or after those Mosques were built. Every time the Mosques are mentioned, Jerusalem seems to be implied, not actually said. Its seems they were named in honor of those names mentioned and they just became facts. You will forgive my skepticism. You make a good point about my source being a Non-Muslim one. I was aware of that when I posted it, but, it was the most detailed of the things I pulled up at the time. And you are correct in saying that in the long run, perception is reality. Just as is the case with Mo-ha-med who took me to task about my questioning of my perception of the recent phenomenon of calling the Mosques on the Temple Mount the “Third Holiest Sites,” which I have read about in a couple of history books. You are also right, regardless, just because I argue otherwise, it doesn’t change what has been taught to the new generations of Muslims who are mad about it. Their facts are what they perceive. Some are even willing to kill themselves in a martyrdom act, just to take people like me with them they believe it so much. They will keep us both of us from having it. Sad really!

      Reply to Comment
    39. Bosko

      @Aristides – Isn’t it just dandy. People like you never stop moaning about Palestinian Arab suffering and what Zionists did to them but when it comes to what was done to Jews by Arabs, read about it here …
      Suddenly you change the subject about Jews from Brooklyn. I guess you would prefer it for Arabs to keep the ill gotten gains that they got in Jerusalem in 1948. Well, we don’t see it your way. We prefer to return stolen property to Jews who owned them in 1948 but if they are not around, then the Jews from Broklyn can get those properties.

      Reply to Comment
    40. Taoist

      @ MARK,

      I appreciate you reading everything I posted, and by reading your post carefully, I can infer that you read them without prejudice, but with certain naiveté typical of American Jews, when exposed to the conflict we are currently debating.

      To begin with, and to use a phrase that has become too common around here, your line of departure misses the great white elephant in the room: the occupation.

      Without taking that into account, the rest of your post lacks, to say the least, a real base.

      Second, you should check other sources when affirming “it has been pointed out here” that Jews are forbidden from entering the Temple Mount. A major reason to check your sources is that some of the posters here work for the Israeli government as part of their “hasbara” program of misinformation, and that’s precisely what they do, misinform.

      However, there was another poster, PIOTR BERMAN, also Jewish according to his post, who stated he had no problems entering the Noble Sanctuary. Unless you have experienced what you’re stating, I would not take what others say here as evidence of anything.

      Third, you are saying the IOF/Police is taking preventive measures against Palestinians, to keep them “from boiling in a rage.” I found your statement particularly offensive, patronizing and condescending, not to say bigoted, as if you are talking about maniacs who need some kind of restraint.

      The “rage” you are talking about, is the result of more than half a century of occupation, repression, oppression, humiliation, and denial of their rights and dignity as a people, by a racist apartheid state established over the assumption of “superiority” over the Palestinian/Arab race.

      Finally, there is a long history of Jewish/Israelis attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque, reason enough for the Palestinians/Muslims to distrust their presence on their holy sites.
      Here is a partial list of Jewish/Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque,




      How many times do you expect the Palestinians/Muslims to get massacred in their own holy sites, before they start taking preventative measures? Remember Baruch Goldstein? Until 1999 his tomb was a pilgrimage place for all kinds of Jewish/Israeli psychos, it doesn’t mean they went away. They just moved to the settlements.

      (1 of 2)

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    41. Taoist

      (2 of 2)

      On another note, if you are in the US as you claim, you should well know that here we have the capability to challenge any authority by legal means. If the police would restrict anyone for any reason whatsoever, to enter a mosque, a synagogue, a Christian church, a temple of any kind, anyone can take them to court, and they will have to justify their actions before the law, all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

      At least, that’s the name of the game on my neck of the woods; I don’t know where you are writing from in the US. Palestinians don’t have that capacity to challenge Israel’s decisions; they are denied the most basic rights, with impunity.

      I don’t believe you are ill-intentioned, but I do think you are misinformed. I appreciate, however, your willingness to debate these issues seriously, a good learning platform.


      Reply to Comment
    42. Ben Israel

      Here is a PEW international poll on the status of minority religious groups around the world. Guess what part of the world puts the most restrictions on minority groups……RIGHT!, The Muslim Middle East!


      Regarding “respect for holy places” here is an article about the “Iraqi resistance” and their blowing up a mosque in Baghdad:


      These things happen all the time in Iraq and Pakistan, two Muslim states. What are Muslims around the world doing to protest these violation of MUSLIM holy places? Are we hearing of mass demonstrations in Paris and London by Muslims there oppositing desecration of MUSLIM holy sites? NO. NOTHING. The silence is deafening. Just like we don’t hear about mass protests regarding the day-to-day slaughter in Syria, which included a massacre in a PALESTINIAN refugee camp in Latakia which led to the flight of thousands Palestinian refugees from the camp (I believe the camp is called al-Raml). No protests, even from their “brother” Palestinians.
      The “progressives” Israel-bashers think that by comparing Israel to some mythically perfect “Progressive” state and by harping on its flaws , this will undermine support for Israel in the democratic West. That is the goal of most of the postings here. However, the hypocrisy cries out to high heaven. The “progressives” whine about how bad Israel is while keeping their mouths shut about far worse abuses elsewhere. Now, I will be accused of “changing the subject”, but that is NOT whay I am saying. I am saying that Israel should NOT be judged by Western “progressive” standards ANY MORE THAN ANY OTHER MIDDLE-EASTERN state. If Aziz is comfortable with discrimination against religious minorities in the Palestinian territories and the rest of the Arab/Muslim Middle East, then he has NO REASON to judge Israel by any other standards. EVERYONE MUST BE JUDGED BY THE SAME STANDARDS. Period.

      Reply to Comment
    43. Bosko

      @Toist – “The “rage” you are talking about, is the result of more than half a century of occupation, repression, oppression, humiliation”
      He forgot to mention why the occupation continued this long. Minor things like …
      – Terrorism
      – Intransigence
      – Playing a zero sum game

      The occupation will end when The Palestinian Arabs will come to terms with the existence of Israel as the nation state for the Jewish people and will learn to accept the two state solution.

      Reply to Comment
    44. Taoist

      If Aziz is comfortable with discrimination against religious minorities in the Palestinian territories and the rest of the Arab/Muslim Middle East, then he has NO REASON to judge Israel by any other standards.



      More non-sequitor subjects anyone? Besides always being out of subject, B.I. was trained in diversionary tactics too.

      He is always turning the subject to the “Arabs/Palestinians,” unable to see his “only democracy in the ME” for what it is: a system of apartheid that denies Palestinians/Muslims one of the most basic rights: freedom of worship.

      We are talking Israel. B.I., not the surroundings. How about getting yourself a mirror? You might not like what you see?



      Reply to Comment
    45. Bosko

      “some of the posters here work for the Israeli government” – TAOIST

      LOL, LOL, LOL
      Paranoia anyone 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    46. Ben Israel

      T-You obviously didn’t read what I wrote. Israel should not be judged by any different standards than anyone else. You want to say that “Israel is not a democracy”. Fine. Then it is no different than any of its neighbors. If you are comfortable with them the way they are (and the Arab Spring hasn’t proven anything different as of now, they simply chucked out some old dictators, we don’t know what is going to replace them) then you should have no problem with Israel. You see, I don’t accept your “progressive” standards as some kind of universal measuring stick. If Progressives and Americans like President Obama are comfortable with non-democracies in the Middle East, then Israel should be okay in their eyes, (if you are right about Israel not being a democracy, which of course is not true, but that is not the point I am trying to make).

      Reply to Comment
    47. Deïr Yassin

      “Tell me your sources, and I’ll tell you who you are”.
      Mark is using Daniel Pipes as a source, not to mention Emmanuel Sivan, but Daniel Pipes, the extremist neo-con Islamophobic director of The Middle East Forum, close friend of Pam Geller, and inspirator of our Norwegian lunatic Anders Behring Breivik.
      Who could ever take anything Mark writes seriously ?

      Reply to Comment
    48. Bosko

      @Mark – I wouldn’t worry too much about her. That what she says about all of us who have a different point of view. Discussing something seriously is not her forte. She is projecting unto us, what she is actually here to do herself.
      She knows who she is 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    49. Deïr Yassin

      Bosko, if you have nothing to say, it’s not necessary to comment. Maybe you should go read some more Ze’ev Maoz, so you don’t make a fool out of yourself in your next discussion with Jon.
      You could also look up who Daniel Pipes actually is. Ha has a certain ressemblance to Lieberman “intellectually” (that word is of course not appropriate for the sh** he writes).

      Reply to Comment
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