Multiplying Efforts to Undermine the Unique Status of Mecca in Islam

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Pinhas Inbari - The Sunnis are destroying sites that are holy to the Shiites, and the Shiites, along with the Alawite regime in Syria, are destroying sites in Syria that are holy to the Sunnis. This echoes the conflict between Syria and Saudi Arabia (the Hijaz) in the Ummayad period (661-750), during which the Syrian army of the Ummayads assaulted with catapults the Kaaba, the holiest structure in Islam, in the courtyard of the Great Mosque in Mecca. On August 14, 2013, former Lebanese minister Fayez Shaker, head of the Syrian Ba'ath Party branch in Lebanon, said in a TV interview that if Mount Qasioun in Damascus were to be fired upon, Syria would blow up the Kaaba. The Shiite crescent is challenging the status of Mecca. On December 23, 2013, the Iraqi-Shiite prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, said the direction of prayer should be Karbala and not Mecca. A little over a decade ago, the Islamic Movement in Israel, which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, undertook an initiative to import water from the Zamzam spring in Mecca and to pour it into ten cisterns on the Temple Mount. Presumably, its leaders hoped to elevate Jerusalem's holiness and, by doing so, increase the number of Muslim visitors to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Hizbullah Party of Iraq, the twin sister of Hizbullah in Lebanon, has sworn to wrest the holy places in Saudi Arabia from the Wahhabis and make them Shiite shrines, while in the Sunni camp, the Muslim Brotherhood wants to focus on liberating the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The writer, a veteran Palestinian affairs correspondent, is an analyst on the Palestinian issue for the Jerusalem Center.

2014-01-07 00:00:00

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