Monday, January 13, 2014

The London Times' Inflammatory Writing

The world's press has been reformulating their accusation against Ariel Sharon being the catalyst for the outbreak of the Second Intifada after many media watch groups have prioritized their vigilance (see here).

Here is from the leader in today's London Times:

When, as Likud’s new leader, he visited the Temple Mount, among Islam’s holiest shrines, in 2000, he was accused of inflammatory behaviour. 

Of course, it is easy just to write that he was "accused of inflammatory behaviour" and make a quick exit.  But the paper erred, nevertheless.

To refer to the Temple Mount as being "among Islam’s holiest shrines" is but half the story.

First of all, let's be specific. It is the third most sacred site for that religion, after Mecca and Medina, even if its qibla value for prayer rates quite high [Book 20, Hadith 3: “A prayer in the Sacred Mosque [in Makkah] is worth 100,000 prayers, a prayer in my mosque [in Madinah] is worth 1,000, and a prayer in Jerusalem [al-Aqsa Mosque] is worth 500 prayers more than in any other mosque.” (Reported by Bukhari).

Secondly, Muhammed's outreach to Jews was rejected:

the unwillingness of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) to follow the Qibla of Islam [after it was changed to face Mecca just over 16 months after Hijra rather than Jerusalem]: "Even if thou wert to bring to the people of the Book all the Signs (together), they would not follow Thy Qibla; nor art thou going to follow their Qibla; nor indeed will they follow each other's Qibla. If thou after the knowledge hath reached thee, Wert to follow their (vain) desires,-then wert thou Indeed (clearly) in the wrong." (Quran 2:145)

Thirdly, the fate of those Jews that preferred not to join Muhammed was horrific: beheading and enslavement.

Fourth, it is unfortunate that the paper did not state that the Temple Mount is Judaism's most and, indeed, only holy site, taken over by the Muslim conquest of the Holy Land in 638 CE. 

Fifth, the purpose was to make clear, as Sharon himself stated after the visit, that

"It is the right of every Jew to visit the Temple Mount".  

If more toleration were displayed instead of Arab violent rock-throwing, many lives, on both sides, could have been saved and peace would have been furthered.

And if the paper were more concerned with all the facts, I would not think that it was being inflammatory itself.


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