Many of us were brought up to believe that one should always be respectful of the clergy and religious beliefs of other faiths, because we would want others to respect our own religious beliefs. But it sometimes happens that the religious beliefs of others become so absurd and so contrary to plain fact that the only appropriate response — indeed, the only possible response — is to laugh. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem’s remark regarding the Temple Mount and the Al-Aqsa Mosque have brought us to such a point.
So, now we have learned two things: (a) the Jews never built even one temple, let alone two, on the Temple Mount, and (b) the Al-Aqsa Mosque was built on the Mount — or as the Muslims like to call it, the Noble Sanctuary — by Adam at the beginning of the world. (Did Eve lend a hand? The Mufti has not said.) You might have thought it was built by Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan in the 8th century A.D., but you would be wrong about that. Sorry. The Grand Mufti assures us that the mosque is at least 3,000 years old, and maybe 30,000 years old. Apparently, he is still in the middle of figuring out its exact age. All I can say is: I hope they’ve updated the plumbing.
Although the Grand Mufti’s remarks are unintentionally funny, they’re also very sad. The Grand Mufti is a religious leader appointed by President Abbas of the Palestinian National Authority, who himself is now serving the tenth year of his four-year term as president. Abbas is, of course, the international community’s perfect exemplar of a true ‘moderate’ Palestinian and ‘partner for peace’ with Israel. He’s the top; you can’t get any better. And yet, his hand-selected Grand Mufti makes all these weird, comical statements about the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Temple Mount. Does Abbas believe what his own Grand Mufti is spouting? Do the Palestinians themselves believe it? The answer almost certainly is that, to a large extent, they do. It’s sad because, at the end of the day, how the heck could any sane nation enter into a peace agreement with people who take someone like the Grand Mufti seriously?
Although innumerable personages of high rank have assured us on innumerable occasions that Islam is a religion of peace, anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear knows that, as interpreted and practiced by some (not by any means all) Muslims, Islam is not at all a religion of peace. Some Muslims interpret and practice Islam as a religion that requires them to kill Jews and destroy the State of Israel so that the territory of Israel can be given to and controlled by Muslims — they sincerely believe this is their religious duty. The Grand Mufti himself has applauded suicide bombings, and that is in addition to his painstaking research into the construction dates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Moreover, the Mufti’s latest remarks reasonably raise the additional question: is Islam a religion of truth?
The Grand Mufti, in addition to providing comic relief, has done supporters of Israel a great favor that should not be overlooked. He has evidenced and manifested the craziness — we have to be frank here — that infects even the ‘moderate’ Palestinian position with regard to the history of the Middle East, the Jews and the State of Israel. Abbas, we are told, is the best of the best, and he chose the Grand Mufti to be his chief spokesman regarding Islam. Those who support Israel should do their utmost to let the whole world know of the kind of beliefs those two entertain. Let’s see if the ‘international community’ gets the joke.
You’ll have to excuse me now — I have to go to Wikipedia and update the entry for Al-Aqsa Mosque.