Trump’s ‘attack’ on Baitul Muqaddas

Published: December 10, 2017
Al Aqsa mosque. PHOTO: REUTERS

Al Aqsa mosque. PHOTO: REUTERS

Al Aqsa mosque. PHOTO: REUTERS The writer is a US-based journalist with over 30 years of experience

Darkness arrived; my tired feet protested, but a force more powerful urged me to continue walking the centuries-old streets where every stone bore testament to the co-existence of millions of people — Muslims, Jews and Christians. They lived, fought and worshipped the one God on this Holy Land for centuries. I looked for answers that belied reasoning: Why did God make a mere 0.9 square kilometre the iconic juxtaposition of three Abrahamic religions that have failed to reconcile with one another till today? Perhaps the fault lay less with the heavens than with ourselves.

Donald Trump is the scofflaw today. Like a fool, he’s rushed in where our better angels would fear to tread. He’s poured oil over the Israeli-Palestinian dispute by accepting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel when all past US presidents have stayed clear of this distinction. Jerusalem rightfully belongs to the Palestinians. In Arabic, Jerusalem means ‘the holy house or al Qudus al Sharif.’ Like the Kaaba in Makkah, Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock is built around a sacred stone believed to be the place from where our Holy Prophet (pbuh) ascended to heaven during his Night Journey. In close proximity stands the al Aqsa Mosque. It’s the third holiest site in Islam after the mosques of al Haram in Makkah and al Nabawi in Madinah. According to the Holy Quran, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was taken on a steed to visit the ‘Farthest Mosque’ (literally al Aqsa in Arabic) from Makkah to Jerusalem where he prayed at al Aqsa Mosque, and then ascended to Heaven during the Isra wal Miraj or ‘Night Journey’.

All 86 countries have embassies in Israel’s capital Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem! Listen up Trump.

“In one blow, Trump destroyed not only the chances of any peace but the stability and security of the region as a whole,” Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian legislator, tells CNN. “He has given all extremists and nuts all over the world who are ready to commit acts of violence a perfect excuse because he has provoked spiritual sentiments and religious feelings to the point where we don’t know how far the ramifications will go.”

Trump doesn’t care if he has thrown a bomb into the Middle East peace process. He only cares for his 33% American voters who are mostly evangelicals egging him on to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. His 30-something son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner is responsible for this disastrous decision. The mealy-mouthed Kushner was secretly in Riyadh recently. He bonded with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). The two stayed up to 4am ‘swapping stories’.

My guess is the two were plotting for Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Like Kushner, MbS is ambitious and self-opinionated. He loves to own big-ticket items. I won’t be surprised if he’s the secret buyer of a $450.3 million painting by Leonardo da Vinci auctioned at Christie’s New York. The New York Times, without naming MbS as the supposed owner, is surprised why an Arab would splurge on a “controversial and decidedly un-Islamic portrait of Christ?”

How can I forget the beautiful call for Zohar prayers float by as I drive past the famous Hebrew University in Jerusalem? It’s the oldest and the best among all universities in Israel having produced eight Nobel Laureates. I meet a young Israeli research student. He’s war-weary. “I want peace in this Holy Land; it belongs to Muslims and Jews alike.” But peace is a mirage as I see during my stay in Israel-occupied Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territory. Approaching Jericho, one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, located near the Jordan River in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank I come across protesters shouting anti-Israel slogans. I quickly turn back, thinking about this unfortunate part of the world racked with endless strife wrought by politics and religion.

Trump is the latest devil-may-care fire-thrower in this conflagration.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2017.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • vinsin
    Dec 10, 2017 - 1:33PM

    Sikhs major Gurudwaras are in Pakistan and some Hindu temples also. Should Pakistan be thinking of returning those to India? You have problems with minorities.Recommend

  • Mortal
    Dec 11, 2017 - 5:00AM

    “Like a fool, he’s rushed in where our
    better angels would fear to tread.”

    He rushed himself because he does not have angles; better or worse!Recommend

  • Vineeth
    Dec 11, 2017 - 8:53AM

    Before you go about claiming unabashedly that Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians, kindly have the decency to accept that what is now Israel and Palestine was the homeland of the Jews hundreds of years before Islam came into being, and that the al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock stands where the Second Temple of the Jews stood.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Dec 11, 2017 - 2:03PM

    I commend the Express Tribune for ignoring the commentries of the anti Trump sector and publshing non muslim commentries. History will also tell you Sir that jerusalem temple was dstroyed twice by the creator for the sins committed in the holy city and the jews were banned to babylon for continued desecration and denial of the God of Ibrahim. Jerusalem belongs to the believers.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Thomas
    Dec 13, 2017 - 2:44PM

    Jerusalem belongs to the PalestiniansRecommend

  • Agrippa - The Skeptic
    Dec 14, 2017 - 4:42AM

    Jerusalem belongs to him who has it.
    No amount of OIC lament or impotent rhetoric will change that.
    No temporal power on earth can wrest it off Israel.
    Learn to live with it and bring peace in your life / lives, or keep on whinging and suffer for all times to come.Recommend

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