What Islamic identity? Islam’s claim to Jerusalem is based entirely on Qur’an 17:1: “Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” Muslims identify this reference to Masjid al-Aqsa as referring to the al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, and connect it to the hadith in which Muhammad is taken miraculously by night to the Temple Mount and thence into Paradise, where he meets the other prophets and Allah himself.
But the Night Journey of Muhammad is a pious legend with no historical basis; even if Muhammad the prophet of Islam was a historical figure, and there is considerable reason to doubt that, there is no evidence that he was ever actually in Jerusalem. And the al-Aqsa Mosque wasn’t even built during Muhammad’s lifetime, which makes it not just likely but certain either that the Qur’an’s reference to the Masjid al-Aqsa (the “Farthest Mosque”) either originally referred to another mosque in a different place, and not to the one in Jerusalem at all, or that this passage was written long after the time Muhammad is supposed to have lived, and thus has no historical value in any case.
“Turkey Hosts UN Israel-Bashing Conference on Jerusalem,” The Tower, May 13, 2014 (thanks to Jerk Chicken):
“Some” are looking to turn Jerusalem into a city of one religion, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said May 12 in a barely-veiled attack on Israel. He made the comment during the opening ceremony of a conference in Ankara on the status of Jerusalem, organized by the United Nation’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
“It is necessary for all of us to support Palestinians and to protect this cultural heritage. No one can act to destroy Jerusalem’s Islamic identity,” Davutoğlu said…
“Jerusalem is an issue for all of humanity, all Muslims and Christians. No one can take unilateral decisions and implement them there. Taking unilateral decisions means putting dynamite in peace in the Middle East. Jerusalem is our qibla [direction faced by Muslims during prayer]. Without taking care of the Jerusalem issue, there will be no peace in the Middle East,” Davutoğlu repeated.
The conference is taking place as part of the UN’s International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The organization’s Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) issued a statement to the media on May 12 detailing some of the key quotes from the opening day.
Among the remarks UNISPAL saw fit to include in the press release was the description of Israeli “tsunami colonization” by The Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs Chairman Mahdi F. Abdul Hadi, who then called for a boycott of Israel.
Qadi and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein told the conference that “Israel was trying to judeize (sic) the city in many ways. Since the first days of the 1967 war and the occupation of Palestinian territory including the city of Jerusalem, Israel had been demolishing and destroying many aspects of the city. The Israelis were trying to marginalize the Palestinian and stamp out their identity. It was trying to surround the Al-Aqsa Mosque by building colonies. Excavation work was another measure used by the Israeli authorities.”
It was apparent to Wasfi Kailani, director of the Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, that “going back to pre-1967 and the legal status of the Western Wall, it used to be 3 metres wide by 22 metres long. It was now some 90 metres by 100 metres long and had been expanded day after day.”
“On the threat of dividing the Mosque, the Deputy of the Knesset every other day encouraged Israeli extremists to break into Al-Aqsa and try to pray, and so to not just visit but also change the status of the Holy Sites,” Kailani added….