A Battle Won and a War Lost
Engr. Meer Sahib.
December 2, 1999

An immediate reaction to the news of Israeli approval to build a mosque
next to the Nazareth church may look like a victory for Muslims, but
deeper analysis would show it to be a shallow victory at best and
potentially a long term loss. The real beneficiary of this conflict will
neither be Muslims nor Christians.

No intelligent Muslim would expect Israel to be magnanimous to Muslim
Arabs. In its decision to allow Muslims to build the mosque, there is
carefully crafted master plan to drive a wedge between  Muslim and Arab
Christians and create a conflict which will keep feeding on itself and
fester for generations to come.

Muslim and Christian Arabs have much in common and have lived together
for centuries united by their cultural and linguistic heritage .
Together, they have both suffered the brutality of the Israelis and have
had martyrs from their families, and  had their properties destroyed or
confiscated by the enemy.

Under Muslim rule, all minorities whether Jew or Christian, have enjoyed
total protection from the Islamic government. Islamic history is full of
examples, which show respect to minority rights. When Caliph Omar
entered Jerusalem and the Patriarch of the Church of Resurrection gave
Omar the key and requested Omar to pray inside the church, Omar, while
thanking the Patriarch for his kind offer, declined to do that, as he
feared that in future, Muslims  might be misled into taking over church
property.

A fine example will be PROPHET MUHAMMAD'S CHARTER OF PRIVILEGES TO
CHRISTIANS - LETTER TO THE MONKS OF ST. CATHERINE MONASTERY which
readers can view at http://www.londomuslims.com.

Building of a mosque right in front of a famous church where tourists
throng day and night will deny the peace and quiet a Muslim will need to
concentrate on his prayers. Churches usually ring bells which would
disturb the Muslim worshipper and similarly the Muslim call for prayer
(Adhan ) may distract Christian worshippers.  Allah has made the entire
earth a place for worship and there is no compelling reason to build a
mosque in a contested area, which is likely to promote hatred than
peaceful co-existence. It is noteworthy that Islamic scholars of Saudi
Arabia have advised against building the mosque.

One key reason cited for building the mosque at this particular
location, namely the presence of the tomb of the nephew of the great
Islamic hero Salahuddin ("Saladdin" to non-Muslims), is not valid in
Islamic shari'a. Building a mosque at tomb-sites is not permissible. At
similar tomb-sites elsewhere,  we witness,  various irreligious
activities (shirk) being committed by ignorant Muslims. One sad example
is the tomb sites of famous sufi saint,  Kwaja Moinuddin  Chisti,  in
Ajmer, India.

Muslims must not react emotionally. We must follow the teachings of
Islam and the guidance of our Holy Prophet and the rightly guided
Caliphs. We must not be so naive to fall into the trap set by Israel
with both our eyes open. We have a duty to protect the rights of our
minorities,  Jew or Christian - this is a religious duty.

Engr. Meer Sahib.