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Civilization Jihad

UNESCO Pretends Jerusalem’s Temple Mount is A Wholly Islamic Site

A resolution prompted by Arab nations attempts to hide the majority of the site's history in order to defend one of Islam's least plausible claims.

BY CounterJihad · @CounterjihadUS | October 14, 2016

The United Nations’ agency for cultural preservation, UNESCO, has ruled that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem has nothing to do with Jews or Israel — or Christians, either.  It is a site to be preserved for exclusively Islamic reasons, according to the ruling.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the resolution, sponsored by several Arab countries, was a “theatre of the absurd.”  The ruling refers to Israel as “the Occupying Power” and is generally critical of Israeli preservation efforts, Israel’s intention to build a new visitor’s center near the site, and Israeli security forces’ efforts that have allegedly led to damage to the site.  In response to the ruling, Israel’s education ministry has suspended cooperation with UNESCO.

The Vatican, which holds observer status at UNESCO, has been asked to intervene to prevent the ruling from becoming finalized.  The resolution goes so far as to deny a Jewish connection to the Western Wall, where Jews still pray as they have since the Middle Ages.

Islam’s connection to the site is one of its least plausible theological claims.  That the site housed a Jewish temple in the days of Herod is a matter plainly demonstrable by archaeology, and that it was a Jewish site long before Herod is almost certainly true from scholarship.  Islam’s claim, however, is that the site is sacred because it is where Muhammad is supposed to have literally ridden his horse to heaven, following an already miraculous ride from present day Saudi Arabia to Israel in just one night.  The Western Wall is said to be sacred because it is where he tied his horse for a while before doing that — a tradition that does not date to the time of Muhammad at all, but is first observed in the literature in the 14th century.

There is nothing particularly wrong with holding to unlikely religious claims.  Christians generally hold that Jesus was bodily assumed into heaven, and although that claim goes along with Jesus having been actually divine, Catholics at least hold to a similar claim about St. Mary.  Nevertheless, it is strange to endorse those most unlikely of claims while also dismissing the most likely, and indeed clearly provable, of the claims of other faiths.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to see UNESCO’s ruling as otherwise than nakedly political.  The intent is clearly to favor Islam over Judaism and Christianity, and to favor Palestine over Israel.  It is not new for Israel to come in for hardship at the UN, nor for Muslim nations to attempt to use the United Nations to advance their religion’s primacy — or to prevent criticism of the worst practices of some of its adherents.  Nevertheless, it represents a shameful failure to live up to the United Nations’ higher ideals.

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