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Third holy site or political expediency?

Reader comment on item: Offer: $1 million for Finding "Jerusalem" in the Koran
in response to reader comment: $1 million for Finding "Jerusalem" in the Koran

Submitted by Rajeev (United States), Sep 25, 2010 at 21:46

Dear Dr. Pipes:

Islamists claim that Jerusalem is the third holiest site for Islam. When the events that made Jerusalem very important to Islam occurred, Jerusalem was also the holiest site for the two of the world's very important religions. And it must have been a very important city of that time. Given that Islam was as much a political movement at that time as it is now, it is quite possible that Jerusalem's ascendency in Islamic stature was more because of political expediency than because of spiritual values. If the then Islamic leaders had known about Banaras, Taxila and Nalanda (where Hindu and Buddhist cultures thrived), the al-asqa --the farthest-- mosque could have been in any of these pagan cities. And no one knew about Beijing and New York at taht time. So there is no question of having al-asqa in any of these cities.

A lot of prophets of Judaism and Christianity are shared by Islam. A muslim argument that Jerusalem is a holy site for Islam because Jesus was born there or because sermon on the mount took place around there, or because it was the karma-bhoomi (work place) of so many ancient prophets, would make me a lot more comfortable than the argument that Jerusalem is holy because the last prophet took a miraculous flight into the city and prayed. I wish that instead of saying some unilateral prayers the Prophet had had prolonged religious debates with Jewish and Christian scholars.

Submitting....

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