Sunday, October 25, 2009

AP: Jerusalem's Holiest Site Is - Muslim!!!???

Yes, that's the AP headline:

Israeli police storm Jerusalem's holiest site
By RAWHI RAZIM, Associated Press Writer Rawhi Razim

JERUSALEM – Israeli forces stormed Jerusalem's holiest shrine Sunday, firing stun grenades to disperse hundreds of stone-throwing Palestinian protesters in a fresh eruption of violence at the most volatile spot in the country.

A wall of Israeli riot police behind plexiglass shields closed in on the crowd, sending many protesters — overwhelmingly young men — running for cover into the black-domed Al-Aqsa mosque.

Is this journalistic objectivity or is the AP being religiously correct or merely allowing a certain amount of editorializing from a Muslim point of view so as to prevent troubles to - AP? If that had read "Jerusalem's holiest Muslim shrine" or "holiest" Muslim site", it would be entirely accurate and fair. Or perhaps the AP editors are blissfully unaware of the Jewish and Christian shrines in Jerusalem, every one of which predates the Al-Aqsa mosque! There is the Jewish Western Wall and the Christian Church of the Holy Sepulcher, for example!

Or is this one of those cases that if the AP didn't call the Muslim shrine the holiest site in Jerusalem some would consider that blasphemy?

By way of contrast, Israel Today calls the Temple Mount, upon which the Al-Aqsa mosque site, "the holiest site in Judaism".

We can expect reports of crowds of angry Christians shouting "death to AP" for the blasphemous insult any moment now...

UPDATE: AP has probably noticed a problem that maybe got through those layers of editors! At the Yahoo News link above to the AP story by Rawhi Razim there is now an updated AP story by Matti Friedman in its place. The stories have switched but not the title, which still alludes to the Al-Aqsa mosque being the holiest site. However, the body of the story now calls that mosque Israel's most volatile shrine!

UPDATE #2: Even Drudge has the headline "Israeli police storm Jerusalem's holiest site..."

UPDATE #3: For those who may not know;

The Western Wall (or Wailing Wall) is a remnant of Herod's Temple, built about 20 B.C. The Temple was virtually destroyed by the Romans about 70 A.D.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher was first built around 330 A.D. by Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine. It was believed to have been built on the spot where Jesus' body was laid to rest in the tomb provided by Joseph of Arimathia and that therefore was also the place at which Jesus rose from the dead. It is also believed to have been built on the Hill called Golgotha where Jesus was crucified. The original church was destroyed by the Persians during a siege of Jerusalem around 614 A.D. and rebuilt. The Muslim Egyptian caliph al-Hakim destroyed that church around 1010 A.D. Most of the current standing church was built by the Crusaders who completed their construction in 1168 A.D.

The Al-Aqsa mosque is where Mohammed is believed to have prayed and received from Allah the commandment to pray fives times a day. Mohammed is believed to have traveled from Mecca to Jerusalem on a flying white horse. The mosque was built over what was the remains of the mostly destroyed Jewish Temple in about 709 A.D. It is considered the third holiest Muslim site after Mecca and Medina.

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