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Robert Schwartz

"The al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem is the third holiest site in Islam after the Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina."

I call Bull$hit on this one. That canard is pure Palestinian propaganda. The Temple Mount is a sacred site to Jews and Christians, discussed hundreds of times in the Bible. The purpose of al-Aqsa propaganda is to denigrate Jewish claims to the Temple Mount.

Vital Perspective

Robert --

Definitely understand where you're coming from. We weren't trying to lessen the importance of the site to Jews or Christians, but fact is Muslims regard it as their third holiest site.

Asher Abrams

Interesting that the Arabic name for Jerusalem derives from (or is cognate to) the Hebrew qodesh, meaning "holy" (generically) or referring specifically to the Temple.

Robert Schwartz

Wikipedia repeats a common propaganda line. So what? Muslims spout Palestinian propaganda. Again, So what? Many Muslims believe the Israelis attacked the World Trade Center on 9/11/01. So What? Most Muslims are poorly informed and/or delusional.

Is there any evidence for the "third holiest site," other than constant repetition of the party line? Is it mentioned in the Koran? Are there pilgrimages? Is it part of the liturgy? Are special ceremonies conducted? As far as I know the answer to all of these questions is No.

The most you can say is that many Muslims claim that Jerusalem is their "third holiest" site. Of, course they also claim that Islam is a Religion of Peace.

Vital Perspective

Robert --

No, it is not in the Koran, it is written in a hadith. To clarify, Jerusalem is not a "holy site" to Muslims, but the al-Aqsa mosque is. It's not in our expertise to decide the merits of Islamic hadiths, we just recognize that the hadith declaring it the 'third holiest site' is accepted by Muslims - we cannot disregard that fact, and again it's not in our expertise to debate the merits of that claim.

Some background though: A hadith is a saying of Muhammad or a report about something he did. Since Islamic legal scholars were utilizing hadith as an adjunct to the Koran in their development of the Islamic legal system, it became critically important to have reliable collections of hadith. While the early collections often contained hadith that were of questionable origin, gradually collections of authenticated hadith called sahih were compiled. The two most highly respected collections of hadith are the authenticated collections the Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. The 'third holiest site' hadith was written by Bukhari.

So, right or wrong (we're not religious scholars), this claim goes back just slightly further back then the start of Palestinian propaganda (by at least 1,000 years).

Robert Schwartz

Rubbish! If you believe asnything that Muslims say, you have lost.

Robert Schwartz

The Muslim Claim to Jerusalem by Daniel Pipes, Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2001

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