One can easily verify that Jewish and Muslim traditional sources are confirming each other: The Temple was built by Solomon and destroyed by a Babylonian king. A Persian king later defeated the Babylonians and ransomed the Jews, permitting them to return to the Land of Israel. The Temple was rebuilt but afterward was destroyed by the Romans. This Temple stood in the area referred to as Beth haMikdash in Hebrew and Bayt al-Maqdis in Arabic. Those political and pseudo-religious Palestinian leaders who claim that “there was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem” are surely aware that, in order to support their political claims, they are compelled to lie, hide sources, and contradict the letter of the Quran and the Islamic tradition.
An earlier Quranic exegete and jurist, Imam Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari, who lived from 838 to 923, writes in his Tarikh al-Rusul wa al-Muluk, or History of Prophets and Kings, that the same sacred area was the place where Jacob had his vision of the Heavenly Ladder:
When Jacob awoke he felt blissful from what he had seen in his trustful dream and vowed, for God’s sake that, if he returned to his family safely, he would build there a Temple for the Almighty. He also vowed to perpetual charity one tenth of his property for the sake of God. He poured oil on the Stone so as to recognize it and called the place Bayt El, which means ‘the House of God.’ It became the location of Jerusalem later.
In Jerusalem on a huge Rock, Solomon son of David built a beautiful Temple to expand the worship of God. Today on the base of that Temple stands the Dome of the Rock.
Historical negation of Jewish and Islamic sources concerning Jerusalem is recent and does not predate the PLO and its political propaganda. In 1932, during the British Mandate period, the Supreme Muslim Council of Jerusalem published a Brief Guide to Haram as-Sharif for Muslim pilgrims, written in English. “This site is one of the oldest in the world,” it says. “Its sanctity dates from the earliest times. Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.”
Do you know why you are supposed to stay mum about the intentional Muslim sacrilege but plead to be forgiven for the accidental American offense? Because you would otherwise have to observe that the Koran and other Islamic scriptures instruct Muslims that they are in a civilizational jihad against non-Muslims, and that it is therefore permissible for them to do whatever is necessary — including scrawl militant graffiti on their holy book — if it advances the cause. Abdul Sattar Khawasi — not a member of al-Qaeda but a member in good standing of the Afghan government for which our troops are inexplicably fighting and dying — put it this way: “Americans are invaders, and jihad against the Americans is an obligation.”
Because exploiting America’s hyper-sensitivity to things Islamic advances the jihad, the ostensible abuse of the Koran by using it for secret communiqués is to be overlooked. Actionable abuse occurs only when the book is touched by the bare hands of, or otherwise maltreated by, an infidel.
As our great Iraqi ally Ayatollah Ali Sistani teaches, touching a kafir (“one who does not believe in Allah and His Oneness”) is to be avoided, because Islamic scripture categorizes infidels as equivalent to “urine, feces, semen, dead bodies, blood, dogs, pigs, alcoholic liquors,” and “the sweat of an animal who persistently eats filth.” That is what influential clerics — not al-Qaeda but revered scholars of Islamic law — inculcate in rank-and-file Muslims.
And they are not making it up. Sistani came upon this view after decades of dedicated scriptural study. In fact, to take just one telling example (we could list many, many others), the “holy” Koran we non-Muslims are supposed to honor proclaims (in Sura 9:28), “Truly the pagans are unclean . . . so let them not . . . approach the sacred mosque.” It is because of this injunction from Allah that non-Muslims are barred — not by al-Qaeda but by the Saudi Arabian government — from entering Mecca and Medina. Kafirs are deemed unfit to set their infidel feet on the ground of these ancient cities. You don’t like that? Too bad — grin and bear it . . . and, while you’re at it, surge up a few thousand more American troops to improve life in Kandahar.
Even the notion of religious affront needs to be examined. Isn’t evil done in the name of one’s religion more of an affront than evil done against one’s religion? I suspect this is how nearly every Jew and Christian thinks. The vast majority of Christians would be considerably more affronted by murders of innocents in the name of Christ than by insults — like “Piss Christ” — to Christ. Why, then, isn’t the Muslim world more affronted by all the Muslims who shout “Allah is the greatest” while cutting the throats of innocent men, women and children than by illustrations of Muhammad in a Danish newspaper or the burning of a Quran by a crackpot in Florida?
Unfortunately, the moral confusion wasn’t confined to Afghanistan. Though in no way morally equivalent, we Americans exhibited our own form of moral confusion in regard to the Quran burning.
Joe Klein, political commentator for Time magazine, morally equated Terry Jones and the Afghan murderers: “There should be no confusion about this: Jones’s act was murderous as any suicide bomber’s.”
Anyone with common sense knows that there is no moral equivalence between destroying a book, no matter how holy, and destroying a human life. So how does one explain Klein’s statement?