Israel, ISIS and A Tale of Two Mosques

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Israel, ISIS and A Tale of Two Mosques

A few days ago amid reports that there was coop­er­a­tion between Israel and Saudi Ara­bia the king­dom felt com­pelled to make the fol­low­ing state­ment

Saudi Arabia’s For­eign Min­is­ter Adel al-​Jubeir on Moday denied any ties between the king­dom and Israel.

“There are no rela­tions between Saudi Ara­bia and Israel,” Jubeir told Egypt’s CBC tele­vi­sion, accord­ing to a trans­la­tion by the Ynet news website.

The Irony of Saudi Ara­bia, the keeper of the most sacred site in Islam’s, need to con­tinue to openly declare Israel unsuit­able for open con­tact and the Arab world’s embrace of such an atti­tude is best illus­trated by telling the story of two Mosques.

In 705 AD the Al Aqsa Mosque was built in the City of Jerusalem at the site of the Tem­ple Mount which was the loca­tion of the Tem­ple of Solomon the holi­est site in Judaism. Other than for a 200 year stretch dur­ing the 11th & 12th cen­turies it has con­tin­ued to func­tion as a Mosque. Even after Israel con­quered Jerusalem dur­ing the six day war, the Jew­ish state, rather than demol­ish­ing the Mosque and rebuild­ing the sacred tem­ple not only allowed the Mosque to con­tinue to func­tion as a place of wor­ship for Islam but has left its admin­is­tra­tion to the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf an Islamic reli­gious trust. Fur­ther­more they have severely pun­ished attempts by both Chris­t­ian and Jew­ish fanat­ics to demol­ish or destroy the Mosque and to this day Mus­lims con­tinue to wor­ship there.

Four hun­dred years after the build­ing of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jer­sualem the Great Mosque of al-​Nuri was built in the city of Mosul. It was famous for its lean­ing minaret. The World Mon­u­ments fund, an inter­na­tional non-​profit ded­i­cated to the preser­va­tion of his­toric archi­tec­ture, describes the minaret:

Known by locals as al-​Hadba’, or the hunch­back, because of its pro­nounced tilt, the minaret of the Great Mosque of al-​Nuri was a promi­nent land­mark of the old city of Mosul. Built under the Seljuk ruler Nur al-​Din, it was part of a reli­gious com­plex that included a mosque and a madrassa and was named after its patron. The minaret, built in 1172, was 45 meters tall, dec­o­rated with orna­men­tal brick­work along its cylin­dri­cal shaft and square base. Five times a day a muezzin would ascend the spi­ral stair­way and sing the call to prayer from the bal­cony. By the time the famous Moroc­can trav­eler Ibn Bat­tuta vis­ited the city in the four­teenth cen­tury, the minaret was already list­ing notice­ably and had been given its nick­name, which remained ever since. In the 1940s, as part of a ren­o­va­tion cam­paign spon­sored by the Iraqi Depart­ment of Antiq­ui­ties, the mosque and the madrassa were dis­man­tled and rebuilt accord­ing to a new plan. But the minaret remained as one of the few orig­i­nal ele­ments of the medieval com­plex, a land­mark of Mosul, tow­er­ing over the low cityscape. So iconic was the minaret that since 2003 its fig­ure has adorned the Iraqi 10,000-dinar banknote.

In fact it’s sig­nif­i­cance was such that its preser­va­tion was an inter­na­tional cause:

In 2012, UNESCO and the Gov­er­norate of Nin­eveh agreed to col­lab­o­rate on a project to study and con­serve the al-​Hadba’ Minaret. The launch of a project that would have resulted in the sta­bi­liza­tion of the minaret was announced in 2014,

It was as Austin Bay’s piece on the defeat of ISIS in Mosul a sym­bol of Islam in the city

For eight cen­turies, the build­ing sym­bol­ized Mosul, which is why, in June 2014, ISIS senior com­man­der Abu Bakr al-​Baghdadi pro­claimed the ISIS caliphate from a Grand Mosque bal­cony. Speak­ing freely in the great house of wor­ship demon­strated Al-Baghdadi’s con­trol of Mosul. As an inter­net pro­pa­ganda tool, video of his dec­la­ra­tion con­firmed he was a caliph, the religious-​political ruler of an expand­ing mil­i­tant Islamist ter­ri­to­r­ial state.

I say “was” because on June 21st one of the final acts of the Islamic state occu­pa­tion was the delib­er­ate destruc­tion and demo­li­tion of this land­mark Mosque.

On Wednes­day night, with the ter­ror­ist group on the cusp of los­ing con­trol of Mosul and with it its claim to a caliphate strad­dling the bor­der of Iraq and Syria, Islamic State fight­ers packed the build­ing with explo­sives and took it down.

Now mind you, the Mosque wasn’t taken down by indi­rect fire or reduced while being defended by fight­ers using it as a fortress or even acci­den­tally blasted away by aired bomb­ing. It was delib­er­ately tar­geted and destroyed by sup­pos­edly devout Mus­lims Austin Bay again:

In ret­ro­spect, the mosque’s oblit­er­a­tion was indis­putable evi­dence of ter­ror­ists’ polit­i­cal nihilism. ISIS lead­ers really wor­ship power and if they can­not seize power and hold it, then they will destroy Mus­lim shrines and cities as well as mur­der human beings en masse.

Now granted that the Islamic state is an enemy of the Saudis and few if any arab gov­ern­ments sup­port it but the obvi­ous ques­tion is this.

If Israel is, as Arab gov­ern­ments, BDS cam­paign­ers and left­ists all over the west claim, the great foe and oppres­sor Islamic peo­ple in gen­eral and “Pales­tini­ans” in par­tic­u­larly, how is it that they treat an Islamic holy site and those who wor­ship there with more care and rev­er­ence than devout Muslims?

A few days ago amid reports that there was cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia the kingdom felt compelled to make the following statement

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Moday denied any ties between the kingdom and Israel.

“There are no relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel,” Jubeir told Egypt’s CBC television, according to a translation by the Ynet news website.

The Irony of Saudi Arabia, the keeper of the most sacred site in Islam’s, need to continue to openly declare Israel unsuitable for open contact and the Arab world’s embrace of such an attitude is best illustrated by telling the story of two Mosques.

In 705 AD the Al Aqsa Mosque was built in the City of Jerusalem at the site of the Temple Mount which was the location of the Temple of Solomon the holiest site in Judaism. Other than for a 200 year stretch during the 11th & 12th centuries it has continued to function as a Mosque. Even after Israel conquered Jerusalem during the six day war, the Jewish state, rather than demolishing the Mosque and rebuilding the sacred temple not only allowed the Mosque to continue to function as a place of worship for Islam but has left its administration to the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf an Islamic religious trust. Furthermore they have severely punished attempts by both Christian and Jewish fanatics to demolish or destroy the Mosque and to this day Muslims continue to worship there.

Four hundred years after the building of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jersualem the Great Mosque of al-Nuri was built in the city of Mosul. It was famous for its leaning minaret. The World Monuments fund, an international non-profit dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture, describes the minaret:

Known by locals as al-Hadba’, or the hunchback, because of its pronounced tilt, the minaret of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri was a prominent landmark of the old city of Mosul. Built under the Seljuk ruler Nur al-Din, it was part of a religious complex that included a mosque and a madrassa and was named after its patron. The minaret, built in 1172, was 45 meters tall, decorated with ornamental brickwork along its cylindrical shaft and square base. Five times a day a muezzin would ascend the spiral stairway and sing the call to prayer from the balcony. By the time the famous Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta visited the city in the fourteenth century, the minaret was already listing noticeably and had been given its nickname, which remained ever since. In the 1940s, as part of a renovation campaign sponsored by the Iraqi Department of Antiquities, the mosque and the madrassa were dismantled and rebuilt according to a new plan. But the minaret remained as one of the few original elements of the medieval complex, a landmark of Mosul, towering over the low cityscape. So iconic was the minaret that since 2003 its figure has adorned the Iraqi 10,000-dinar banknote.

In fact it’s significance was such that its preservation was an international cause:

In 2012, UNESCO and the Governorate of Nineveh agreed to collaborate on a project to study and conserve the al-Hadba’ Minaret. The launch of a project that would have resulted in the stabilization of the minaret was announced in 2014,

It was as Austin Bay’s piece on the defeat of ISIS in Mosul a symbol of Islam in the city

For eight centuries, the building symbolized Mosul, which is why, in June 2014, ISIS senior commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed the ISIS caliphate from a Grand Mosque balcony. Speaking freely in the great house of worship demonstrated Al-Baghdadi’s control of Mosul. As an internet propaganda tool, video of his declaration confirmed he was a caliph, the religious-political ruler of an expanding militant Islamist territorial state.

I say “was” because on June 21st one of the final acts of the Islamic state occupation was the deliberate destruction and demolition of this landmark Mosque.

On Wednesday night, with the terrorist group on the cusp of losing control of Mosul and with it its claim to a caliphate straddling the border of Iraq and Syria, Islamic State fighters packed the building with explosives and took it down.

Now mind you, the Mosque wasn’t taken down by indirect fire or reduced while being defended by fighters using it as a fortress or even accidentally blasted away by aired bombing. It was deliberately targeted and destroyed by supposedly devout Muslims Austin Bay again:

In retrospect, the mosque’s obliteration was indisputable evidence of terrorists’ political nihilism. ISIS leaders really worship power and if they cannot seize power and hold it, then they will destroy Muslim shrines and cities as well as murder human beings en masse.

Now granted that the Islamic state is an enemy of the Saudis and few if any arab governments support it but the obvious question is this.

If Israel is, as Arab governments, BDS campaigners and leftists all over the west claim, the great foe and oppressor Islamic people in general and “Palestinians” in particularly, how is it that they treat an Islamic holy site and those who worship there with more care and reverence than devout Muslims?