Where’s the Media Outcry About the Religious Apartheid Around Sunni Islam’s Holiest Sites?

No one but Muslims may visit Islam's holiest sites.

BY Bruce Cornibe · | September 6, 2016

We hear all the time in the news from some Muslim activists and/or members of the political left how Israel is an apartheid state – even absurdly comparing Zionism to Nazism. Israel’s immigration laws might seem overly restrictive to non-Jews, but extra measures are needed in order to maintain its Jewish identity as the only Jewish nation-state in the world. The country of Israel ensures Jews that there remains at least one place where persecuted Jews anywhere in the world can take refugee instead of facing pogroms, holocausts, or any other kind of genocidal campaign aimed at the Jewish people. Survival of the Jewish people was one of the key drivers behind Israel’s “The Law of Return[.]”

Furthermore, Arab Israelis enjoy the same basic rights as Jewish Israelis. Muslims are free to visit just about any Jewish and/or Christian holy sites in Israel.  Since the 2016 Hajj is quickly approaching, one could ask the question:  Do we see the same treatment toward non-Muslims visiting Islamic holy sites as we see vice versa, as in Israel?

Not even close.

One notices a type of religious apartheid around Islam’s holiest of sites, which one will not typically hear about in the media.  You will especially not hear of it if you’re following the issue through Diaa Hadid, a contributor to The New York Times. Hadid was part of The Electronic Intifada, a radical pro-Palestinian website that helps spew Hamas propaganda, whose co-founder Ali Abunimah supports groups like Hamas.

Hadid also worked for another radical pro-Palestinian organization named Ittijah that allegedly supports the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement.  The group’s “head Amir Makhoul was sentenced to nine years imprisonment for spying for Hezbollah[.]”

Besides her radical background Frontpage Mag gives a glimpse into Hadid’s hatred of Israel, stating:

…In an article entitled “My Israel, My Palestine” Hadid is quoted as saying “I can’t look at Israelis anymore. I can’t separate your average Israeli citizen from the occupation, I don’t want to be friends with them, I don’t want to talk to them.” She is further quoted as saying, “To this day I’d never say that I am anti-anybody. But did my objectivity get thrown out the window? Yes, because I had an Israeli gun pointing at me, not a Palestinian one.” …

It’s apparent from Hadid’s own lips that she is not objective in her reporting on Israel – yet The New York Times hired Hadid and now has her covering the 2016 Hajj. Since Hadid likes to highlight Israel’s supposedly ‘unjust’ policies and practices maybe she can explain to her non-Muslim viewers why the U.S. Department of State’s Hajj Fact Sheet says, “Non-Muslims are forbidden to travel to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina[,]” and why at another Islamic holy site in Jerusalem Tourist Israel states, “non-Muslim visitors will NOT be allowed entry into the building of the Dome of the Rock.”? Why is it that Islamic holy sites seem to enforce religious exclusion?  In Muslim areas like Mecca it’s much more than the prohibition of non-Muslims praying or practicing their religious rituals around Islamic sacred sites.  We are talking about the prohibition against the very presence of so-called infidels.

Where does this xenophobia and demeaning of non-Muslims come from? Let’s take a look at some Islamic texts:

O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people. –Quran 5:51

Say, “O People of the Scripture, do you resent us except [for the fact] that we have believed in Allah and what was revealed to us and what was revealed before and because most of you are defiantly disobedient?” Say, “Shall I inform you of [what is] worse than that as penalty from Allah ? [It is that of] those whom Allah has cursed and with whom He became angry and made of them apes and pigs and slaves of Taghut. Those are worse in position and further astray from the sound way.” –Quran 5:59-60

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “A group of Israelites were lost. Nobody knows what they did. But I do not see them except that they were cursed and changed into rats, for if you put the milk of a she-camel in front of a rat, it will not drink it, but if the milk of a sheep is put in front of it, it will drink it.”… –Sahih Bukhari 4.54.524

Let’s examine some other Islamic passages that deal with the topic of non-Muslims and Islamic sites/territories – such as the Arabian Peninsula, and the likely mosque, Masjid al-Haram, that surrounds a place many believe to be the most sacred site in Islam, the Kaaba:

It has been narrated by ‘Umar b. al-Khattib that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim. –Sahih Muslim 19.4366

O you who have believed, indeed the polytheists are unclean, so let them not approach al-Masjid al-Haram after this, their [final] year. And if you fear privation, Allah will enrich you from His bounty if He wills. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Wise. –Quran 9:28

People like Hadid who criticize Israel for its alleged discriminatory policies overlook the real religious discrimination that is occurring in the Islamic world.  It’s time for people in the media to start questioning Sunni Islam’s practice of religious apartheid, especially around its holy sites.



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