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Jerusalem: City Of God, City Of Blood

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Jerusalem’s name has been historical linked to two concepts; the “City of Peace” and the “City of God.” Although history has proved the “City of God” to be true, the former has rarely occurred for continuous decades. Jerusalem is constantly a city in dispute, where even the age of the city is an example of this concept. Jews consider Jerusalem's history to start 3000 years ago when David established the city as capital of the United Kingdom of Israel. Palestinians, believing they are the descendants of the Canaanites, say the city is 5,000 years old.

The great disputes seem unjustified when pictures of Jerusalem are viewed. The city is a desert between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea lying at the intersection of Israel and the West Bank (Jerusalem). Jerusalem is composed of two distinct sections: West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem on about 10,000 square miles of land(Jerusalem). As with any desert, plants do not grow well on it’s soil but strong religious convictions thrive here.

Over the centuries groups ranging from the religions of Abraham to the secular Egyptian, Roman, Ottoman, and British Empires have battled for ownership to allow their people the best access to the religious sites. The claims of the Jews, the Arab Muslims & Christians, and other Christian groups all stem from both their historical ownership of the land and their own religious tenants. The battles of today are different because religion has been shifted to the background. It’s no longer just Christians, Muslims, and Jews vying for the land, it’s far more complicated than that. We now have an Israeli nation and disenfranchised Palestinians, we have the ethic Israelis disputing with Arab Christians and Muslims. The secular aspects include international peace keeping forces, treaties, economic sanctions, the United States, weapons of mass destruction versus suicide bombers, and many more complexities. Somewhere within complicated political, social and economic issues the religion and the “City of God” still exist. The fate of the land of Jerusalem maybe determined by our modern methods yet the historical birthplace of Western religion, cannot be.

Although intertwined with the secular, religious Jerusalem has always been unchanging. The bricks of the Temple Mount, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Western Wall are the same regardless of who has owned them. What has changed is the fate of these sites. Jerusalem has evolved into a modern city that’s impacts Christendom, Islam, and Judaism and therefore the entire world. Have the modern religious tactics and attitudes toward Jerusalem essentially endangered the very land that millions worldwide hold dear?

Currently Muslims have a strong commitment to Jerusalem. Although Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran it’s holiness in cannot be disputed. Jerusalem is the third holiest city in Islam; less holy only to Mecca and Medina. It is the site were the Prophet Muhammad ascended into heaven during the year 610. It is the host of the Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary also known as the Temple of the Mount.

Muslim American groups have been developed to maintain a strong voice of Muslim concern for the city. One example is American Muslims for Jerusalem. They are a non profit agency who work to ensure the concerns of the American Muslim community regarding Jerusalem are respected in the formulation of U.S. policy, to educate and mobilize the American Muslim community and to raise awareness while working for a just solution to the issue of Jerusalem (AMJ).

Awareness of issues and groups like the AMJ are not what pose endangerment to the Temple of the Mount, however. They can be considered the manifestation Sura 9.29, which is considered the “ toleration verse” (Cook). It’s when other religious/secular groups seeks to bring to life the words in Sura 5.82 the potential harm is shown. This Sura states “Certainly you will find the most violent of people in enmity for those who believe (to be) the Jews and those who are polytheists, and you will certainly find the nearest in friendship to those who believe (to be) those who say: We are Christians; this is because there are priests and monks among them and because they do not behave proudly”(Koran). Groups like HAMAS who work both to offer aid and education to the Muslim Palestinians and also guns, bombs, and military equipment to the same people have presented a constant endangerment(Lawrence). The weapons of violence have lead to suicide bombings within 200 yards from the Temple over the past decade. Riots between worshippers at The Western Wall and Temple of the Mount are so common place that nearby Makassed Hospital on the Mount of Olives must be open around the clock to accept the injured (Hamad).

Muslims living in Jerusalem are peaceful worshippers and citizens as a whole. Many religious leaders in Jerusalem and the United States have come out to denounce violence that is supposedly “Koran based.” One such example is Taha Jabir Al-Alawani, President of the Fight Council of North America and President of the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences. He officially issued this fatwa with the last few months; “All Muslims ought to be united against all those who terrorize the innocents, and those who permit the killing of non-combatants without a justifiable reason” (A-Alawani). Despite such a clear message, violence is still common place in Jerusalem, with little hope for stability.

Judaism and the religion/secular nation of Israel have the strongest commitment of any group involved which stems from the fact that the city itself is proclaimed holy. Revelation 3 verse 12 is the basis for this claim. This verse states; “ Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name." (Bible Gateway). Abba Eban, an Israeli Statesperson, said "Jerusalem is for Israel the focal point of Jewish History: the symbol of ancient glory, of longing, of prayer, of modern renewal." Jerusalem is the capital city Israel and they run the department that handles all landmarks, including the religious ones. The one exception is the Temple of the Mount which is directly under Muslim citizen control, not the government’s. However they can exercise the right to shut it down in times of emergency or when the individuals in control are not allowing every person who want to visit access. Jews around the world pray



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