Zionists to Build Museum on Companions' Graves
www.Islamonline.net and other sources.
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM - An Israeli court ruling has allowed the construction of a Jewish museum over graves of some companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
"Israel is declaring a global war on Muslims and Arabs," Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, told a press conference on Thursday, October 30.
"A general of the [Prophet's] Companions is buried in this cemetery."
Sheikh Salah noted that thousands of other Muslims have been buried in the cemetery, putting the number to at least 70,000 until 1948.
Israel's High Court on Wednesday, October 29, rejected an appeal by two Muslim groups to halt the building of a Jewish 'museum of tollerance' on the site of a Muslim cemetery in central Al-Quds - at one time the main cemetery for the Muslim population which has been around for at least 1,000 years.
The court argued that the cemetery has been in public use since the municipality authorities put a parking lot over a small section of the graveyard in the 1960s.
It claimed that a proposal put forward by the museum planners to rebury the bones or cover the graves was "satisfactory" to resolve the issue.
The court said the construction of the museum, which was launched at a ceremony in 2004 by a cast of dignitaries ranging from Ehud Olmert to the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was halted in 2006 after human remains were discovered during the digging, can resume immediately.
In 2006 Durragham Saif, the lawyer who brought the Islamic Court petition on behalf of three Palestinian families, Al Dijani, Nusseibeh and Bader Elzain, all of whom have members buried at the cemetery, said: "It's unbelievable, it's immoral. You cannot build a museum of tolerance on the graves of other people. Imagine this kind of thing in the [United] States or England. And this is the Middle East where events are sensitive. If this goes ahead in this way it is going to cause the opposite thing to tolerance."
Saif, on a visit in 2006 to the cemetery mentioned that in three out of five tents where excavations were being carried out "I was shocked to see open graves and tens of whole skeletons there," he said.
The Mufti of Al-Quds, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, said the verdict was a "grave decision which harms the Muslim holy sites."
He described the construction of the $250-million 'Museum of Tolerance' by the Los Angeles-based Jewish group the
Simon Wiesenthal Centre**, as an "act of aggression."
Sheikh Salah appealed to the Muslim world to intervene to halt the construction on the Muslim cemetery.
"We have sent messages to the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to stop this crime."
The Muslim leader said the court verdict was part of the Israeli policy to 'judaize' the holy city.
"But we will not give up our rights."
Israel captured Al-Quds in the 1967 war and later annexed the holy city, in a move not recognized by the international community.
The city is home to Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest shrine and the first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during prayers].
Al-Quds is also home to some of the holiest Christian places of worship including the Jerusalem Church and the Greek Orthodox Church.
Archmandrite Atallah Hanna (of the Greek Orthodox Church) also criticized the Israeli court ruling.
"This is the true face of the occupation," he told the same press conference.
The Christian clergy reaffirmed the unity of Palestinian Muslims and Christians in the face of Israeli aggressions.
"We stand shoulder to shoulder in the same trench."
** The Simon Wiesenthal Center - Mission Statement.
An international Jewish human rights organization dedicated to repairing the world one step at a time. The Centerís multifaceted mission generates changes through the Snider Social Action Institute and education by confronting antisemitism, hate and terrorism, promoting human rights and dignity, standing with Israel, defending the safety of Jews worldwide, and teaching the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations. With a constituency of over 400,000 households in the United States, it is accredited as an NGO at international organizations including the United Nations, UNESCO, and the Council of Europe. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the Simon Wiesenthal Center maintains offices in New York, Toronto, Palm Beach, Paris Buenos Aires and Jerusalem.