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September 06, 2002

Rock of Ages, Falling Free...

Rock of Ages, Falling Free...

Okay, so the Temple Mount is going to collapse, and Daniel thinks Israel should do something about it but isn't, apparently. (Link via In Context)

And yet successive Israeli governments, both Labor and Likud, have abdicated their role, turning a deaf ear to the increasingly anxious predictions.

Their insouciance has two main causes. First, memories of 1969 and 1996 are enough to make any Israeli leader want to stay away from Jerusalem holy places.

Second, it is a well-established tradition that the governing authority in Jerusalem - Ottoman, British, Jordanian, Israeli - endorses the status quo, permits precedent to have sway and stays out of the city's many and hugely intractable religious disputes.

It also seems that the Palestinian Authority will do nothing about it.

"This bulge is under our monitoring since the '70s and has neither grown nor shifted in 30 years," says Adnan Husseini, director of the Islamic religious authority (the waqf) that oversees the Temple Mount. "It is stable, we don't feel that there is any dangerous situation."

So Israel is convinced that at least a substantial portion of the area will collapse, but won't do anything about it, and the Palestinians aren't convinced that the a collapse in imminent, and so shan't do anything about it. Excellent. Now all we have to do is hope that the collapse actually is imminent.

Why? Because one of the reasons Muslims are so ho-hum about the situation is that, when you get right down to it, they believe Allah will not allow it to happen. Consider this verse from the Koran.

They want to extinguish Allah’s Light with their mouths, but Allah will not allow except that His Light should be perfected even though the disbelievers hate it.

Boiled down, it means that Allah will not allow the heathen to triumph over the faithful. Remember, Islam is still a relatively young religion. It's not been around long enough to develop the wisdom inherent in a phrase like "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." Islam still has at its base the idea that Allah will reach down into the world and arrange events to his liking. There are surely Muslims sophisticated enough to understand that he will not, but they don't have much sway in the Arab world.

Arabs also possess an incredible faith in the power of symbols. Symbols are important in Islam, it's one reason why the Jerusalem minarets were built so tall, so that they would be higher than the heathen worship sites around them. This is the religion that produced Osama, and he thought he could defeat us by destroying the Twin Towers. The idea is nuts to us because the West has turned away from the power of symbols. But if we accept that symbols are extremely important to radical Islam, then we should realize that the destruction of symbols important to them will have a great effect upon them.

If that portion of the Temple Mount collapses, it could take all or part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock with it. That's the third holiest site in all of Islam, containing the point from which Mohammed ascended bodily into heaven. What happens when Allah allows it to be destroyed? When it is pointed out that, but for the negligence of brother Muslims it could have been prevented? That will not compute. It's a body blow to the Arab belief in Islamic inevitability. And this is the point where some much needed moderation can be introduced.

Let's skip that for as sec and assume that the Jews get blamed for the collapse, which is after all not unlikely. Allah allowed the Jews to destroy the Temple Mount? Surely that's even more horrid to contemplate than Allah simply allowing it to collapse. Daniel Pipes thinks so, and has an idea about what will happen.

Judging by prior incidents in Jerusalem - the arson at Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969, the opening of a tunnel in 1996 - this disaster would lead at least to wide-scale fighting in Jerusalem and a heated international crisis. If things really went wrong, it could precipitate a wave of violence in Europe and a full-blown Arab-Israeli war.

It could also complicate the war on Iraq, obstruct the war on terrorism and jump the price of oil and gas. At worst, it could unleash an end-of-days messianism in three monotheistic religions, with unforeseeable consequences.

Well, both of those causal events were pretty obviously from the hand of man, rather than God, and Israel is ringing the alarm bell pretty loudly, even if they do think that it is up to the waqf to deal with the problem. It could also unleash a wave of liberalism across the face of Islam. The loss of the Second Temple affected Judaism in a similar way. Yes, there will be mullahs arguing that the Arab failure to destroy Israel caused Allah to withdraw his favor, but you'll also have mullahs arguing the opposite.

Islam is a very brittle religion, forced to the breaking point by its confrontation with the West. It's going to shatter anyway. Here's an idea; Let's find a scholarly, apostate Muslim and pay him to alter Islam to our liking. One a major disaster occurs in the Islamic world, like this collapse or something else, we pay clerics to spread our version, to claim that it is the actual word of Allah, that the disaster was caused by those who refused to hear it.. That's essentially what the Saudis do now. We can do the same, even if it is a bit more stealthy in practice.

And yes, once the Temple Mount is gone, the Jews can rebuild the temple. I've got no problems with that. It is a significant part of the illiterate Christian interpretation of the Book of Revelations, so we'll have to deal with Pat and Jerry and all their ilk in full-blown hard-on mode. We can deal with them, their precursors have flamed and burned out many times, and they will too. And for a little while, at least, Islam will be receptive to new "interpretations."

And if they aren't, there's always Mecca.

Posted by Bigwig at September 6, 2002 04:40 PM | TrackBack
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