Peter Baum, the International Political Affairs Editor of Blitz highlighted this issue in a recent op-ed in which he stated that the “false Palestinian claim to Jerusalem that is causing the current violent rifts in Islam.”
Baum cited Sheikh Palazzi, secretary-general of the European Muslim Assembly and the Khalifah for Europe of the Sufi Order, who stated unequivocally that the Land of Israel was, even according to Islam, solely intended for the Jewish People:
“God wanted to give Abraham a double blessing through Ishmael and through Isaac, and ordered that Ishmael’s descendants should live in the desert of Arabia and Isaac’s in Canaan,” Sheikh Plazzi said. “The Qur’an recognizes the Land of Israel as the heritage of the Jews and it explains that, before the Last Judgement, Jews will return to dwell there. This prophecy has been fulfilled”.
The editorial went on to cite numerous scholars of Islam who refuted that there was any connection between Islam and Jerusalem. He then explained that Koran’s published after 1970 were “revisionist in the extreme by alluding to Jerusalem and Palestinian rights in verses which originally made no such references.”
The article posits that the recent wave of Arab/Islamic countries normalizing relations with Israel was a religiously motivated rejection of this anti-Islamic Palestinian political propagandist agenda.
“Israel and her supporters have been overwhelmed by an opposition only too willing to exploit myths and propagate hate to a silent, uninformed majority who through inertia, ignorance and bigotry have allowed such propaganda to permeate the media, political and religious debate, and academia to Israel’s detriment and in order to delegitimize Israel’s rightful legal, political and religious claims to the geography including Jerusalem,” Baum wrote, adding, “The modern Islamist narrative of pro-Palestinian support is like the Palestinians themselves a very recent construct.”
It, as the op-ed states, claiming Jerusalem as a Muslim holy site is deeply offensive to Sunni Islam, then the United Nations has been guilty of this. Several times and most recently in November, the UN has passed resolutions claiming the Temple Mount (and other Jewish holy sites in Israel) as exclusively Muslim sites.
This Sunni attitude was illustrated by an article in November 2020 written by Saudi Arabian lawyer and journalist Osama Yamani in Okaz, a prominent Arabic Saudi Arabian daily newspaper, maintaining that the true location of the Al Aqsa Mosque described in Koran is in Al Ju’ranah (also referred to as Jeharna), near Mecca in Saudi Arabia and not on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
This is based on the story in the Koran of Mohammad’s miraculous night journey to Al Aqsa Mosque. It was called Al-Aqsa (the furthest) Mosque because there is another mosque in the region built by one of Mohammad’s benefactors known as “al-Masjid al-Adna, “the Near Mosque”.
Since the Haj pilgrimage is one of the five basic Islamic commandments, the Umayads were forced to choose Jerusalem as their alternative for a pilgrimage site. In order to justify choosing Jerusalem, the Umayyads rewrote the story told in the Koran, moving the al Aqsa mosque to Jerusalem, and adding, for good measure, the myth of the night-time journey of Mohammed to al Aqsa. This is the reason the Sunnis now consider Jerusalem their third holiest city.
The Koran specifically states that Mohammad never left Saudi Arabia. This grants special sanctity to Mecca as the focus of Sunni Islam and the pilgrimage destination of Haj. Designating sanctity to Jerusalem is an affront to this sanctity of Mecca and a grave insult to Sunni Muslims.
This was explained by Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University, who frequently refers to the myth that the Aqsa Mosque described in the Koran is located in Jerusalem is “fake news” and insulting to Saudi Arabian Muslims since it would raise the mosque on the Temple Mount to a level of importance that could contest the centrality of Mecca in Islam.
“In early Islam, we see that assigning holiness to the Temple Mount was criticized as an attempt to introduce Jewish concepts into Islam,” Dr. Kedar said. “Today, this narrative describing Mohammad’s Night Journey as culminating in Jerusalem has been revived, advanced by the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey’s President Erdogan, Qatar, and other Islamist movements seeking to unite Muslims and/or Arabs under a caliphate who seek to take over Jerusalem and use it like a crown.”
Dr. Kedar went on to explain that this politically motivated lie was expanding to include the entire Temple Mount with the intention of claiming the entire city of Jerusalem for Islam.
The entire area of the Temple Mount is known in Aarabic as al-Haram al-Sharif – “the holy and noble site”. But a change came about after the Six-Day War when some Jewish leaders, particularly that of the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Rav She’er Yashuv HaCohen, calling for the establishment of a synagogue on the Mount. Immediately after the war, Chief IDF Rabbi Shlomo Goren also said that he wanted to celebrate religious events on the Temple Mount. It was felt that the Muslims would not object, since al Aqsa was on the southern edge of the compound and the synagogue would not be nearby.
As a result, however, the Palestinians decided to announce that the al Aqsa mentioned in the Koran refers not only to the mosque on the southern end of the compound, but is the name for the entire Temple Mount area, abandoning the original name, al-Haram al-Sharif.
The Blitz editorial goes on to describe the Palestinian claim to be indigenous to Israel as “a false narrative that has morphed into fact encouraged by an eager anti-Jewish State media and political elite within the United Nations.”
He then cited the statements made by the Arab leadership (including the notoriously anti-Semitic Mufti of Jerusalem) to the 1937 Peel Commission that all land claimed by the Jews was legally purchased “at over-inflated prices” by the Jewish National Fund. This historical fact includes Judea and Samaria, and even Gaza, putting to rest the false claim of “illegally occupied land”.
The conclusion is emphatic:
“Rest assured that whenever you read or hear the adjectives, occupied or illegally occupied, by journalists, politicians’ academics or TV and Radio presenters when referring to the West Bank or Gaza, they, through sheer ignorance or personal bigotry are spreading and facilitating fake news. The term Apartheid, the ultimate verbal offence in their armory is pure fiction, a lie, a false narrative. Fake news, at its most powerful. Apartheid means segregation of the races – the Palestinians are not a race and Israel is a multiracial society where ethnic minorities are treated as equals.”