The Muslim Riots

Dr. Gerhard Falk

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk


The Muslim Riots Against the Jewish Presence on the Temple Mount


     The continued rioting of the Muslim population against the Jewish presence on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in all of Judaism, should be seen in the light of similar riots by Muslims in countries other than Israel. Those riots and other indications of religious intolerance against Christians and others cannot all be mentioned here, but a few examples will suffice.

      In the Sudan the Arab-Islamic government has declared a “holy war” against the Christian minority of the southern Sudan. 1.5 million Christian Sudanese have been starved to death and others displaced from their homes. Food is being used as a weapon to force Christians to convert to Islam.

      In Saudi Arabia the display of Christian symbols is prohibited. Christians are not allowed to meet and foreign workers are jailed and deported if they hold private Christian worship services in their homes.

      In Pakistan, which is 90% Muslim, Christians are falsely accused of “blasphemy” and are sentenced to death for that “crime”. A 12 year old boy was so sentenced but managed to flee the country. The Muslim clergy then announced that anyone had the right to kill the child if possible.

      In Egypt, a country which receives $3 billion in aid from the U.S. every year,  5.5 million Christians make up ten percent of the population. These Christians a called “Coptic” and are also called Zebaleen.  Barred from most jobs by religious discrimination, Christians must haul garbage into the Cairo dump where Christian men, women and children pick through the refuse developed from a city of 15 million. In Egypt Christians must have a government permit to expand their churches. Such permits are seldom granted. In fact, in the city of Alexandria two churches were recently closed. Crimes against Christians are not prosecuted and anti-Christian exhortations by the Muslim clergy are common. The Koran, the Muslim Bible, is forced upon all school children including the Christian minority.

    In Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country, the oldest Roman Catholic church built in 1780 on Ambon Island was burnt down in 1999 by Muslim fanatics. On Malaku Island, eight Christians, including a Catholic priest, were killed by Muslim rioters. Innumerable killings and arson against Christians have continued in Indonesia for years.

     Then there is India, a Hindu country with a Muslim minority. There Muslims rioted in 1998 because someone published a pamphlet not liked by the Muslim clergy. Most prominent has been the rioting and the death threats made by Muslim clergy and others against the writer Salman Rushdie, himself a Muslim, because he wrote a book called Satanic Verses.  Whatever the merits of the complaint that the book insults Islam, the public call for the killing of Rushdie for writing a book is truly an intolerable assault against the principle of free speech.

    The list of such religious intolerance could go on and on. Suffice it to mention that on October 5 of this year the Islamic leader, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman called upon his followers to “kill Jews everywhere.” Rahman made that announcement from an American prison where he is serving a life sentence for participating in the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City.

     In view of all this, is it at all surprising that the Muslim minority in Israel wants to use force so as to prevent a Jewish presence on Judaism’s most holy place, the site of Solomon's Temple?

Shalom u’vracha.


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