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From the moment Jerusalem was unified in June 1967 and its eastern part came under Israeli rule, the Palestinians and the Arabs began to portray Al-Haram al-Sharif as “Al-Aksa that has fallen prisoner to the Jews,” while the mount rose to the status of Islamic holiness.(1) So long as a Muslim sovereign ruled in Jerusalem, the religious leadership of the Arabs of Palestine, from their seat on the Temple Mount, concentrated on religious practice, with very little role for political matters in their activities.

But Jerusalem’s conquest by non-Muslim rulers, whether Christian Crusaders at the beginning of the second millennium or Jews at the end of that millennium, catapulted Jerusalem from a religious symbol of secondary importance to a religious-national symbol of the first order.(2)The extent to which Islam at its inception did not accord importance to Jerusalem can be proved by the fact that Jerusalem was one of the last cities to be conquered at the time of the invasion of Syria, after the death of Muhammad, and that its conquest is associated with the name of a junior commander and not – as later legends claim – with the name of the revered Caliph Omar himself.

Zengi’s son, Nur ad-Din, continued in this path, and one of his court poets wrote in one of his poems: The infidel rulers must hand over [to Zengi] not only Odessa but also the rest of their lands. If the conquest of Odessa is the sea, then Jerusalem, And the Crusader Kingdom within it, is its shore.(4)In the days of Saladin this push further intensified, and the Dome of the Rock was described as “rejoicing at the news that the Koran, which she has been lacking, is to return.”(5) In the sultan’s missive that proclaimed to all the princes of Islam the victory in the Battle of Hattin (July 4, 1187), he promised to immediately impose a siege on Jerusalem: “the darkness of heresy has so long enfolded her, and very soon the dawn of redemption will shine on her.”As we have seen, a similar phenomenon occurred after 1967, but this time it was brought about by “Jewish infidels” instead of “Crusader infidels.” Under the rule of the Jordanian monarchy, Jerusalem’s status had drastically declined.(6) Now, in the wake of the Six-Day War, the city suddenly rebounded in holiness and political importance.

Poems and yearnings for Muslim Jerusalem were published in the Arab world, and almost every self-respecting Arab ruler set up a special committee on Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.(7) Over the years, military units, camps, schools, clubs, refugee camps in the West Bank, conferences, conventions, and committees were given the name Al-Aksa.

I was actually asked the same question in Toronto, a few weeks ago.

And while this is a very disturbing question to some people, it is something that needs to be mentioned and discussed publicly.

Local movie stars have signed petitions, political parties are split, and sex workers complain the government is doing them out of a living.This emir was the first ruler of his time to declare a aimed at obliterating the entire Crusader presence in the East.The liberation of Jerusalem was made a supreme objective of the campaign and the keynote of its propagandizing.France is divided over a bid to crack down on prostitution. Winter sun in the wild Atlantic Cape Verde is an Atlantic island nation that basks in year-round sunshine.Departing on 10 December, you can spend a week exploring the main island of Boa Vista, using the Iberostar as your base, with meals, transfers and Thomson flights from Gatwick for £828pp.

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