While Israel Preserves Al Aqsa, Muslims Destroy Other Religions’ Holy Sites When Given a Chance

Islamic triumphalism has a lamentable history of demolishing the holy sites of other religions and replacing them with mosques.

On January 10, 2022, Arye Savir reported in World Israel News:

Unknown individuals from the Palestinian Authority (PA) have again caused damage to the Biblical-era site of the Prophet Joshua’s altar on Mount Ebal....

The latest damage was discovered by volunteers of Shomrim Al Hanetzach, (Preserving the Eternal), a project dedicated to the preservation of the archaeological treasures situated throughout Judea and Samaria.  They reported damage to the altar’s walls and the falling of stones on its eastern side....  The PA has paved a road that passes near the site of the altar.... Part of the ancient fence that borders the site was dismantled and its stones were crushed using a gravel crusher to serve as a substrate for the paving of the road.  The site’s location in Area B, under PA administration, enables it to operate unhindered….

Below is a list of other Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist holy sites desecrated or converted into mosques. Sadly, the destruction has triggered revenge destruction of the replacement mosques in some cases.

Temple Mount in Jerusalem

The Temple Mount is to Judaism as Mecca is to Islam; Jews around the world face Temple Mount when they pray, Muslims face Mecca even when on or around Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is the holiest site for Judaism. It is the site of the two Jewish Temples. Muslim conquerors built two mosques there. Despite having their holiest site safe and secure in Mecca, Muslims desecrated Jewish archaeology in Temple Mount and built their Mosques there. Simon Sebag Montefiore describes, in his book Jerusalem, the Arab Conquest of the Eastern Roman Empire (Chapter 16, page 166) that Arabs built the Al Aqsa Mosque in Temple Mount to make Muslims the legitimate heirs of Jewish sanctity. Today, Arabs do not allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount.  During the Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem (1948-1967) Jews were not allowed to pray at the Western Wall either.

Al Aqsa Mosque and the Western Wall of the Second Temple in Jerusalem

While Israel preserves Al Aqsa, Muslims destroy Jewish holy sites when given a chance.  The Jewish Temple was not only destroyed by the Romans 2000 years ago, it continues to be destroyed by the Arabs today.  If the Palestinians assume responsibility over the site, they will have the freedom to destroy much more.

Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron

The Jewish Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are undeniably buried there.  Muslims built a mosque there.

A surge in church-mosque conversion followed the 1974 Turkish Invasion of Cyprus.

Many of the Orthodox churches in Northern Cyprus have been converted to mosques.  Turkey has been steadily destroying the Christian artistic and cultural heritage of Northern Cyprus.

Hundreds of Greek Orthodox churches in Turkey were converted into mosques to make a statement of the supremacy of Islam over other religions.

Hagia Sophia, the seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, was converted into a mosque. (President Erdogan has resumed Muslim prayers at the site).

Columbus reached America in 1492 shortly after Muslims conquered Constantinople (in 1453). Muslims have the same claim to Hagia Sophia that Columbus had of the Mayan Pyramids.

Sita Ram Goel wrote a book describing the destruction of multiple Hindu Temples and their replacement with Mosques in India.

The Babri Mosque in Ayodhya (North India) was built on the site of a Hindu Temple. In 1992 a mob of 150,000 Hindus razed the mosque. Nobel Laureate writer V. S. Naipaul has praised the act for “reclaiming India’s Hindu heritage”.

The Great Temple of Keshava Rai at Mathura was one of the most magnificent Hindu Temples ever built in India. The Temple was demolished in 1670 and, on its site, a mosque was built.

The Somnath Temple in India was destroyed by Muslim invaders and converted into a mosque. In AD 1025, Mahmud destroyed and looted the temple, killing over 50,000 people who tried to defend it. After independence, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel pledged on November 13, 1947, that the temple would be reconstructed. The mosque was not destroyed but carefully relocated. In 1951 Dr. Rajendra Prasad performed the consecration ceremony. The temple construction was completed on December 1, 1995. The then-President of India, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, dedicated it to the nation.”

Kashi or Varanasi is the most sacred site in Hinduism and the worship of Lord Shiva as Vishveshvara goes back to ancient times. The temple was demolished several times by Muslim invaders and was reconstructed again and again by Hindu kings. A mosque was built which still stands.

The Grand Mosque of Damascus, also known as the Umayyad Mosque, was converted from a church dedicated to John the Baptist in 705

Ezekiel’s tomb in Iraq.

Ariel Arkham reported on these pages: “…The Jerusalem Post and various watchdog groups have reported that the Iraqi Cultural and Antiquities Authority are implementing plans to erect a mosque on top of Ezekiel's Tomb. Last month, the process began as the ancient Hebrew inscriptions adorning the inside of the Tomb were defaced, perhaps irrevocably, and covered over by plaster…”

The Tomb of the Prophet Jonah in Mosul (Iraq), an ancient Jewish Holy Site was destroyed.

Daniel’s tomb. Another Jewish Holy Site was destroyed in Iraq.

Ezra’s tomb in Iraq.  The Complete Pilgrim reported “Ezra...personally led five thousand Jews back to Judea, after which he read the entire Torah to the populace of Jerusalem in an effort to inspire and reinvigorate them spiritually. Later, he established the precursor to the council of the Sanhedrin which would later become the supreme religious authority of the Jewish people....  In later years he spent much time traveling back and forth between Judea and Mesopotamia, inspiring his fellow Jews to return. He died in Mesopotamia sometime in the late 5th century BC. His shrine was one of the most venerated sites in Iraq until the 20th century, when most of the local Jews emigrated to Israel.”

On February 15, 2015, Israel Today reported

Arab media last week reported that Islamist forces operating in the south of the country had seized control of an ancient shrine revered as the tomb of the biblical scribe and priest Ezra.”  Pan-Arab news website Al-Araby reported that the militants had destroyed large portions of the shrine...According to Al-Araby, the terrorists had cut off all access to the Tomb of Ezra to prevent journalists from reporting on their conquest and destruction of the holy site….

Tomb of Samuel near Jerusalem

Turkish tourists have begun holding regular visits to a Jewish prayer space at a holy site outside of Jerusalem, intentionally interfering in the locals’ prayer services in what some say is a bid to push Jews out of the space.

According to a report by Makor Rishon Sunday, Muslim tourists have begun holding regular pilgrimages to Samuel’s Tomb just outside of Jerusalem.

The compound, which is located entirely in Area C, under full Israeli control, and located between Jerusalem's Ramot neighborhood and the Givat Ze'ev suburb' is considered sacred by both Jews and Muslims.

The site has been informally divided between the two, with a functioning mosque on the premises and a space designated for Jewish prayer next to the tomb itself.

Rachel’s Tomb near Jerusalem.

UNESCO has declared that Rachel’s Tomb near Jerusalem is the Bilal ibn Rabah mosque – endorsing a Palestinian claim that first surfaced only in 1996 and which ignores centuries of Muslim tradition.

As opposed to the Temple Mount and the Cave of the Patriarchs which also serve as the location of mosques, Rachel’s Tomb never served as a mosque for the Muslims. The Muslim connection to the site derives from its relation to Rachel and has no connection to Bilal ibn Rabah, Mohammed’s first muezzin.

Destruction of the Buddhist library of Nalanda University in India.

Destruction of the World's two largest standing Buddhas (Afghanistan).

Destruction of Joseph's tomb. In 2000 the Palestinians destroyed Joseph’s tomb. Sidney Brounstein wrote for the Los Angeles Times:

Where is the outrage? Imagine what would have happened if Jewish police stood by and allowed a Jewish mob to destroy a Muslim holy place! Does the destruction of a Jewish holy place by an Arab mob while Palestinian police stand by (after promising to protect it) deserve no more than inclusion in a list of other damage done by rioters? Is this an acceptance of attacks on Jews and things Jewish as a normal part of life?

It makes a mockery of any thought of giving Arabs any control of Jewish holy places. The destruction of dozens of such places in the Old City of Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967, along with the exclusion of Jews entirely from their most holy site, the Western Wall, was clearly of a piece with the current destruction.”

Photo credit: Rosewoman CC BY 2.0 license

Ezequiel Doiny is author of Obama's assault on Jerusalem's Western Wall

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