The Al-Aqsa Fraud

Martin Luther, in his criticism of Catholic pilgrimages, once said, “There are 12 apostles, and 18 of them are buried in Spain.” He probably would not be pleased that Protestants have resumed journeying on the Camino (Road) to Santiago (Saint James) de Compostela. But, the Camino to Santiago will not start a war. The Temple Mount will.

A new $5 million Anglican Centre is to be built in Spain in Santiago de Compostela, the end of the world-famous Catholic pilgrimage route the Way of St James. -- Christianity Today

Putting aside all arguments about whether Israel should be in Judea and Samaria, whether Israel should be in Jerusalem, or even whether Israel should be in the land itself, one thing is clear: Mohammed never set foot in Jerusalem. That is incontestable.  Absolutely beyond debate, even from accepted Muslim history.

Mohammed died in 632 A.D. Arab forces did not besiege Jerusalem until 636 A.D. They did not enter the city until 637 A.D. No one doubts this. No one denies this.

It follows that if Arab forces did not enter Jerusalem until 637 A.D., then Jerusalem did not have a mosque before that date. The present structure for Al Aqsa -- the Furthest (Mosque) -- was built around 690 A.D., possibly using materials from an earlier destroyed church. There is a possibility that an earlier mosque had been built soon after the Arab conquest.

But all of this, whenever or if ever it occurred, took place after Mohammed died.

Therefore, whenever Mohammed made his supposed night journey – the miraj – it could not have been to a mosque in Jerusalem that did not exist. The whole Islamic claim to Al-Aqsa is a historic fraud.

One can argue whether Muslims originally faced Mecca in their prayers (as Muslim tradition demands), or whether Muslims originally faced Petra, as new scholarship shows; but even that does not affect the very real fact that Mohammed never set foot in a mosque in Jerusalem.

The present crisis over Al-Aqsa – two Israeli Druze policemen were killed last Friday by Muslim terrorists-- is based on an absolute lie. The Muslims are fighting for a mosque that is a demonstrable fraud, and that can be shown so in five minutes.

Returning to Spain for some insight: even Catholic scholars now admit that the Saint James – of Santiago de Compostela fame – is probably not buried in Spain. James seems to have been buried in Jerusalem. Luther was right after all.

Numerous scholars suggest that the cult of St James in Spain has not been around longer than the 9th century A.D. this suggests that it is unlikely that the remains belong to the apostle from the times of Jesus. There is also no record connected with his grave from a period before early medieval times. -- Ancient Origins

Yet, the Camino has taken on a life of its own as a metaphor for a spiritual journey. And let’s be honest, some people just want to see Northern Spain. This is why Protestants – as well as atheists and others -- have rediscovered the Camino. It has been divorced from its Medieval Catholic claims.

Not so with Al-Aqsa: the furthest mosque, the mosque that Mohammedans claim that Mohammed visited.

To understand what is going on, one has to understand a fundamental difference between Christianity on the one hand, and Judaism and Islam on the other.

Christianity has been divorced from geography.

John 4:21 -- Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. (NKJV)

Jesus had separated the worship of God from the place of worship. No longer was it necessary for the faithful to go somewhere to get closer to God. This is especially true of Protestant denominations, but even true of the more liturgical ones. The Papacy did not collapse when it was temporarily banished to Avignon. Mass could still be celebrated. While Catholicism prefers Rome, and Eastern Orthodoxy reveres Constantinople, neither city is central to Christian theology. And if Protestants revere Memphis, it is only because Elvis is buried there -- though like the Catholics at Santiago de Compostela, there was a strong debate among some Protestants if Elvis was even in the tomb -- proving that superstition is not confined to any one denomination.

This is not so with either Judaism or Islam. Those two are land-based religions. A Jew cannot fulfill the requirements of Torah and be out of the land. The temple sacrifices can only be performed in Jerusalem.

All found a place within the confines of the ancient walled city -- for indeed, the Biblical commandment requires that all of Israel eat of the Passover offering within Jerusalem's walls; it is forbidden to partake of the Passover outside. -- Temple Institute

Deut 16:16 -- Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses [ie: Jerusalem]: at the Feast of Unleavened Bre A.D., … (NKJV)

2 Chronicles 6:6 -- Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.’ (NKJV)

To surrender Jerusalem is to absolutely surrender Judaism. It is impossible to be an observant Jew apart from the land. There is nothing like this in Christianity. One can be a “good” Baptist or Presbyterian, or even Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Christian anywhere. A pilgrimage might be recommended, but never required.

Similarly, Islam is also land based. Presently it is deemed that Mecca is the holy place, and Muslims are commanded to make a Hajj to Mecca at least once in their lifetimes. Even if the holy place was once Petra, as some historians now claim, there was always a pilgrimage requirement in Islam. Likewise, the geography of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem is deemed sacred. Hence the violence whenever it appears that Israel is encroaching on it.

Both religions have land requirements, and to surrender the territory is to surrender the faith.

[A] prayer in Al-Aqsa Sanctuary is worth 500 times more reward than anywhere else –

But, history says this Muslim claim is a total lie.

This has to be stated. Why isn’t our media saying something about this? They are ever quick to point out the historical insanity of certain Catholic pilgrim sites – and I would agree with the media. Though, were I a younger and healthier man, I would still consider walking the Camino to Santiago just for the scenery, detouring to spend an altogether sacrilegious amount of time in the pintxos bars of San Sebastian/Donostia. I probably would never make it to Santiago, and be a better man for it.

But Muslims do not have this option. Like Judaism, it is an all or nothing premise.

Still, it must be confronted. It has to be confronted. It can be confronted with a simple question: If the Arabs did not arrive inside Jerusalem until five years after Mohammed’s death, how could Mohammed have visited a mosque that did not exist in Jerusalem during his lifetime?

It can be phrased politely, even sincerely. Ask a Muslim scholar on TV.  Ask a Muslim diplomat. Of course, there will be some Muslims who will claim that such is the “miracle of Islam,” that it can effect such an otherwise impossible absurdity. But the message will get out. Slowly at first, but it will spread. The doubt will grow, just as Martin Luther started to doubt on his trip to Rome – and we know how that ended up.

As he dutifully kissed each of Pilate's stairs, [Luther] began to doubt the Church's teachings about relics and merits -- Religion Facts

Eventually, there will be Muslims who will ask the very same question – Is this true? -- hopefully leading to an abandonment of the atrocious Islamic creed. At the very least, it will make the contest for control of the Temple Mount as little less violent.

It won’t end the contest for the Holy Land. There is an element of nationalism to that, something that  will not change even if Islam is abandoned; but it may make the contest more rational, less terroristic.

I cannot believe that none of our newscasters know this. Why isn’t the question broached? Why is our media so cowardly? Why don’t they seek truth, instead of pandering to outright lies? The media is willfully dishonest in this.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish in high school, lo those many decades ago. He writes on the Arabs of South America at He also just started a website about small computers at

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