Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Ben-Gurion Academic on the Muribatat

On November 18, I attended a conference sponsored by Search for Common Ground's (SFCG) Jerusalem office at the Konrad Adenauer Conference Centre.  Entitled "Addressing Interreligious Tensions: Holy Sites in the Holy Land", funding was also provided by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. 

The conference took place within the framework of a pilot being implemented "in the Holy Land" (sic) to gauge the practical effectiveness of a Universal Code of Conduct on Holy Sites. This code of theirs 

endeavors to safeguard holy places and promote interreligious reconciliation worldwide by demonstrating that dialogue between relevant religious and governmental bodies leading to common action is a significant tool for building relationships and reducing tensions around holy places.

Some of my snaps:

At the conference, Salwa Alenalt, a PhD candidate in the Middle East Department in Ben Gurion University, provided 

insights into the Islamic concept of ribat, which refers to pious behavior and the call to Muslims to protect Islamic holy sites.

and earlier, she was quoted in the media, saying

“The members of the Murabitat see coming to al-Aqsa, and studying there as a religious duty and experience, They are not willing to give up this experience.”

If only that was their purpose. 

The groups of men and women, murabitun and murabatat, are quite a recent phenomenon, perhaps four years old at the most (although I did find similar behavior in 1911!).  They at first sat around in study circles, then they moved to sit in the pathway of the Jews walking about the Temple Mount courtyard, forcing a detour.  After that, they started yelling and finally, the pushing, shoving, screaming, spitting and hitting.  They are paid to do that, from the coffers of the Islamic Movement-North.

They are provocateurs.  Instigators of violence.  Nothing is being done to the area than what other non-Jewish tourists are doing.  The police are very stringent and restrictive.

And as I pointed out to Ms. Alenalt, as I have already blogged, the Jews demand no less than what Muslims themselves request at such a site as the Cordoba Cathedral.

But at this public human rights program, that went unmentioned by the "scholar" from Ben-Gurion University, an objective and neutral academic.


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