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Nazareth Islamic leader: Mosque decision 'declaration of war'
Jerusalem Post ^ | March 4, 2002 | Haim Shapiro

Posted on 03/03/2002 9:40:04 PM PST by Gershom

NAZARETH (March 4) - A leader of the Islamic Movement in Nazareth described the government's decision yesterday to ban the construction of a disputed mosque in his city as a declaration of war against Islam.

"We defeated the Crusaders 800 years ago and we will defeat the enemies of Islam today," said Nazareth Deputy Mayor Salman Abu Ahmed

He said that the decision came as no surprise since in his view Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who appointed an interministerial committee to study the issue, had set up the committee to block the mosque. He added that the Muslims would remain at the site and he hoped that the government would not try to remove them by force. However he did not rule this out since, he said, Sharon used force against Arabs elsewhere, as in Balata and Jenin.

The issue of the proposed mosque arose in 1997, when the Nazareth Municipality tore down a former Moslem school near the Basilica of the Annunciation to construct a plaza for pilgrims expected to arrive for the Millennium. Soon after, Muslim militants occupied the area, claiming it as Muslim property and saying that it had originally been the site of a mosque.

The militants refurbished and expanded a shrine dedicated to Shehab a-Din, a nephew of Saladin, at one corner of the area, and erected a tent which they declared to be a mosque and in which they held prayers. Two government committees, under former prime ministers Binyamin Natanyahu and Ehud Barak, ruled that a mosque should be built at the site, albeit a smaller one than the militants sought.

However Construction and Housing Minister Natan Sharansky, who headed the present committee, said that one of the reasons it had recommended banning a mosque at the site entirely, while offering an alternative site, was that the Muslim activists had never respected the decision of either of the committees, but rather had occupied the entire area and used loudspeakers to broadcast threats to their opponents. Allowing the mosque to be constructed, Sharansky said, would be rewarding violence. "We have an obligation to safeguard the holy places and protect the rights of minorities and their freedom of religion," he added.

The committee, which included National Infrastructure Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Justice Minister Meir Sheetrit, and Internal Security Minister Uzi Landau, recommended banning a mosque at that site and offering an alternative one, restoring the shrine, erecting a public plaza at the site, and erecting a barrier between the shrine and the plaza. Only Culture Minister Matan Vilna'i opposed the recommendations, supporting the erection of a small mosque at the site.

Sharansky, speaking to reporters after the government had endorsed the committee's recommendation, said that in its opposition to the erection of the mosque near the church, the largest in the Middle East, this was the first time that the entire Christian community had been united, with opponents to the mosque ranging from PLO supporters to those who support Israel.

Sharansky insisted that the committee had not been influenced by any political pressure, but Abu Ahmed insisted that pressure from Pope John Paul II and US President George W. Bush had been instrumental. Bush had raised the issued in talks with Sharon after the pope had spoken to the US president about it in a telephone conversation.

"Tell the pope and Bush that the Moslems in Israel won't forgive them," Abu Ahmed said.

The Muslim leader also condemned local Christian leaders for their role in opposing the mosque, without mentioning them by name. The Catholic leaders in Israel are part of the congregation of the pope, inciters against Islam, he said.

Referring to Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, Abu Ahmed said that the patriarch was not worthy of having Abu Ahmed mention his name. The local Christians leaders were, he added, a foreign element among the Arabs.

Papal Nuncio Pietro Sambi said yesterday that the government's ruling was a very wise decision. In response to Abu Ahmed's comments, Sambi said that the Christians arrived in this region at least 640 years before the Moslems.

"If they want to speak of foreign bodies, they are more foreign," Sambi noted.

Father Pierbattista Pizzabolla, a Franciscan priest who is acting as spokesman for the Catholic Church on this issue, described the decision as wise and courageous and said it was not an easy one to have made. He said he hoped the Muslim community would understand the situation and that the Christian and Muslim communities could return to coexistence.

"We don't want a religious war," Pizzabolla said.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: clashofcivilizatio
If the Palestinians do get their state, what type of srate will it be?

The local Christians leaders were, he added, a foreign element among the Arabs.

1 posted on 03/03/2002 9:40:04 PM PST by Gershom
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To: Gershom
I'll tell you right now, all the Christian sites will be torn down and replaced with Mosques.
2 posted on 03/03/2002 9:47:18 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: Gershom
The usual Muslim tactic was used throughout the process: intimidation, bluster, threats and violence.
The Israeli government repeated the mistake of attempted appeasement with the usual result.

The muslims want it all.
It is clear that the whole "approval" process for the mosque's construction was a damned muslim invention from the word go.
No to intimidation!

3 posted on 03/03/2002 9:47:42 PM PST by Publius6961
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To: McGavin999
I'll tell you right now, all the Christian sites will be torn down and replaced with Mosques.

I think not.
And the Muslim/Arabs better get used to the idea.

4 posted on 03/03/2002 9:49:01 PM PST by Publius6961
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To: Gershom
"The local Christians leaders were, he added, a foreign element among the Arabs."

These jerks sure have it down when it comes to lying.

5 posted on 03/03/2002 9:51:48 PM PST by grimalkin
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To: Gershom
Papal Nuncio Pietro Sambi said yesterday that the government's ruling was a very wise decision. In response to Abu Ahmed's comments, Sambi said that the Christians arrived in this region at least 640 years before the Moslems.

"If they want to speak of foreign bodies, they are more foreign," Sambi noted.

The sweet sound of sanity.




6 posted on 03/03/2002 9:52:20 PM PST by Sabertooth
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To: Victoria Delsoul; harpseal; Travis McGee; mae west; poor muttly; Snow Bunny; onyx; glock rocks...
(((ping))))


7 posted on 03/03/2002 9:52:59 PM PST by Sabertooth
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: Sabertooth
Unfortunately, sanity in that part of the world usually gets one killed. Mr. Sambi will probably be targeted for stating the blasphemous truth that Islam is a foreign implant there.
9 posted on 03/03/2002 10:07:45 PM PST by Gershom
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To: Gershom
Bumping for tomorrow
10 posted on 03/03/2002 10:30:59 PM PST by Bradís Gramma
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To: Gershom
RE #1

These people say that any minor dispute is war against Islam. They have loose lips. If they willing turn it into war against Islam, let them act on it. Let them declare war against Infidels because we are not backing out. Then these stupid Arabs will make mad infidels happy. Don't they know that there are infidels who are itching to eject Kaaba into space ? These mad infidels do not have much support now. But idiot "pious" muslim will turn these infidels into popular figures. They had better remind themselves that infidels have many scary war toys, and they all can instantly join Allah in a split second. They will have all 72 white raisins. But no virgins.

11 posted on 03/03/2002 10:42:14 PM PST by TigerLikesRooster
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To: Sabertooth
Father Pierbattista Pizzabolla, a Franciscan priest who is acting as spokesman for the Catholic Church on this issue, described the decision as wise and courageous and said it was not an easy one to have made. He said he hoped the Muslim community would understand the situation and that the Christian and Muslim communities could return to coexistence.

Hmm, is that possible? Hard to believe.

12 posted on 03/04/2002 8:44:54 AM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: Gershom
Good movie by the Israeli government. There is no appeasing the Muslims, so why even try.
13 posted on 03/04/2002 3:37:46 PM PST by Michael2001
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: *Clash of Civilizatio
Bump.
15 posted on 03/04/2002 4:49:34 PM PST by denydenydeny
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