WND Promotes Temple Mount Protests

WorldNetDaily‘s Jerusalem correspondent Aaron Klein is up to his usual business of puffing the fringe religious right in Israel, with an article about “International Temple Mount Awareness Day”. On 10 March, he wrote:

Next Tuesday, the Temple Institute is calling for an international day of awareness regarding the situation on the mount.

The group is asking Israelis to arrive at the Temple Mount Mugrabi Gate, the entrance to the mount, at 7:15 in the morning local time in accordance with directions posted on the institute’s site. Institute leaders stressed they are seeking a peaceful public demonstration of solidarity with the Mount.

Those outside Israel are being asked to “make known their dissatisfaction with the ongoing injustice to the Prime Minister of Israel, by telephone, by fax, and by e-mail.”

…The group also is calling for those living abroad to “assemble in prayer and discussion, spreading the word and raising awareness about the injustices being committed on the Temple Mount.”

“We suggest holding prayer vigils outside Israeli consulates and the embassies,” stated the Temple Institute.

The Institute points out that according to the Hebrew calendar, next Tuesday marks the anniversary of the dedication of the Tabernacle and the first day of the divine service.

In a second article, Klein drops some heavy hints for the paranoid end of the anti-Obama crowd:

A member of the U.S. government met with organizers of Tuesday’s “International Temple Mount Awareness Day” to pepper the activists about their intentions regarding Jewish ascent to the holy site.

“It was obvious,” one of the planners told WND, “the individual who met with us from the Obama government was concerned about the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and what is being done to deepen it.”

The organizer talked on condition of anonymity and also on condition that WND kept confidential the name of the U.S. official who met with the Temple event planners.

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah is always desperate to link Obama to anti-Jewish conspiracies: a while ago he suggested that a speech made by Obama in Auschwitz contained a secret message to Muslims promising a new Jewish holocaust (Farah really is that vulgar – and that contemptuous of his readers’ intelligence).

Both articles go on to give a boilerplate potted history of the site:

According to the Talmud, the world was created from the foundation stone of the Temple Mount. It’s believed to be the biblical Mount Moriah, the location where Abraham fulfilled God’s test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac.

…The Al Aqsa Mosque was constructed in about A.D. 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al Aqsa was meant to mark what Muslims came to believe was the place at which Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven to receive revelations from Allah.

Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible 656 times.

Islamic tradition states Muhammad took a journey in a single night on a horse from “a sacred mosque” – believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia – to “the farthest mosque” and from a rock there ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque became associated with Jerusalem about 120 years ago.

According to research by Israeli Author Shmuel Berkovits, Islam historically disregarded Jerusalem as being holy. Berkovits points out in his new book, “How Dreadful Is this Place!” that Muhammad was said to loathe Jerusalem and what it stood for. He wrote that Muhammad made a point of eliminating pagan sites of worship and sanctifying only one place – the Kaaba in Mecca – to signify the unity of God.

As late as the 14th century, Islamic scholar Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya, whose writings influenced the Wahhabi movement in Arabia, ruled that sacred Islamic sites are to be found only in the Arabian Peninsula and that “in Jerusalem, there is not a place one calls sacred, and the same holds true for the tombs of Hebron.”

This is a somewhat partial historical account, in which Klein has picked and chosen for the benefit of his American Christian Zionist target readership. If the Temple Mount area is not “really” sacred to Muslims, why did Caliph Umar have the site cleaned up when he conquered the city (forcing the Christian Patriarch to take part personally)? And while it’s correct that the “Night Journey” was not part of the reason for the building’s construction, why not mention the adjacent Dome of the Ascension, which dates from 1200? Why mention Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya’s view about the sacredness of Jerusalem, while ignoring other Muslim authorities and traditions? Why say nothing about actual long-standing Muslim practice?

And why not mention the full range of Jewish views on the Temple, either? In particular, the Chief Rabbinate has posted a sign close to the site, in Hebrew and English, warning that:

According to the Torah it is forbidden for any person to enter the area of the Temple Mount due to its sacredness

It is certainly depressing to see the how the Islamic custodians have damaged the site’s archaeological legacy (although “Third Temple” Jewish extremists would cause far more extensive damage if they get their way), as well as the foolish attempts to deny the historicity of the Jewish Temple – which makes a mockery of why the site was chosen by Caliph Umar in the first place. But Muslims never stole the site from Jews – it had been abandoned centuries before, and Judaism in the meantime had evolved new ideas which suggested that the restored Temple would be a messianic structure created by supernatural means at the end of time. Of course, some Jews hold other views, but the idea that non-Muslim tourists and pilgrims are being denied some sort of “right” due to the restrictions imposed by the Muslim custodians is rabble-rousing.