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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Ayloush: Muslim roots in Jerusalem as deep as Jews, Christians

Published letter to the editor
Morning Sentinel Newspaper

Muslim roots in Jerusalem as deep as Jews, Christians

In his letter to the editor ("Jerusalem belongs to Jews, not Muslims," Aug. 23), Andrew Busque denies Islam's historical connection to Jerusalem.

Muslim roots in Jerusalem go as deep in history as their faith in all the prophets, up to the Prophet Muhammad, who instructed Muslims initially to pray in the direction of Jerusalem.

The Islamic centerpiece of Jerusalem is Haram Al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), the compound in the Old City that contains both the Dome of the Rock mosque and the even more significant Al-Aqsa mosque, one of the three holiest places in the world for Muslims.

The Quran states: "Glorified be He (God) who took his servant (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Al-Haram mosque (in Mecca) to Al-Aqsa mosque (in Jerusalem), whose precincts We have blessed." (17:1)

This verse refers to the Prophet Muhammad's miraculous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, and from the rock now located in the Dome of the Rock mosque to heaven. Many other references in the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad focus on the significance of Jerusalem, repeatedly calling it the sacred land and the blessed land.

While maintaining a strong historical connection to Jerusalem, Muslims also recognize its importance to the Christian and Jewish faiths. Any lasting peace in the Middle East will depend on respecting the historical claims of Muslims, Christians and Jews, thereby symbolizing the religious tolerance and freedom for which this holy city stands.

Hussam Ayloush, director
Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greater Los Angeles Area
Anaheim, Calif.

Original letter to which I responded:

Jerusalem belongs to Jews, not Muslims


To whom does the land of Israel belong? The recent increase in attempts to negotiate a Mideast peace and establish a Palestinian state have again raised this question, which has been asked numerous times.

The Palestinians insist that a separate state for them must include Jerusalem as its capital as is their "right." Israel has rightly rejected that false claim.

The real issue at hand though is the ongoing hatred for Israel and Jews and a refusal to acknowledge Israel's right to exist.

Of course, Arab hostility against Israel is not a modern phenomenon. The current conflict has roots that go back many generations. Palestinian claims to sovereignty over portions of the Holy Land, and particularly over Jerusalem, are illegitimate not only in light of biblical text, but also in the light of centuries of history.

Jewish identification with Israel goes back almost 4,000 years, when God told Abraham to leave his homeland of Ur Kasdim and to go "to the land that I will show you" (Genesis 12:1). God promised this land to Abraham and his descendants through Isaac forever.

Israel became a nation 2,000 years before the rise of Islam and has had an unbroken presence in the Holy Land for centuries.

Jerusalem is mentioned 700 times in the Scriptures, but not once in the Quran, and Mohammed never even visited Jerusalem. The Holy City of David is the rightful capital of the Jewish state. End of story.

Andrew Busque

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