Tag Archives: Madinah

A Bite of History of Jerusalem and Mecca: Donald Trump Bahnhof, DonaldTrumpStrasse, Trump Mosque…….

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“A future train station in Jerusalem near the sacred Western Wall will bear the name of President Donald Trump, Israel’s minister of transportation said Wednesday, calling it an honor bestowed in response to Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. “The Western Wall is the holiest place for the Jewish people, and I decided to name the train station that leads to it after president Trump — following his historic and brave decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel,” Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said in a statement, according to the Jerusalem Post…….”

First- a bit of history: at the beginning of Islam, the small community of Muslims used to pray facing Jerusalem, not Mecca. They did that for some years. At that time Mecca was controlled by pagan Arabs who worshiped idols and statues that lined up the Kaaba. After the Muslims conquered Mecca and its people converted, it became the direction toward which Muslims prayed. Yet Muslims kept their political capital in Madinah (the Prophet did not trust the new Umayyad converts who dominated in Mecca). All that was, of course, long before they conquered Jerusalem and built the Al-Aqsa Mosque under the Caliph Omar.

There is one place outside the USA where Donald Trump is actually popular. The same place Barack Obama was so unpopular: Israel. Then there are a couple of remote places where the populace sees a combination of orange face and orange hair and opines support for their owner. Pockets of Oceania, some former East European allies of the German Reich, pockets in India, etc..

Media report a frenzy in Israel of naming and renaming places and streets after Donald J Trump. In addition to the Western Wall Train Station, there are street-name changes and other renaming. One street used to be Salah-Eldin (Saladin) Street; it is becoming Donald J Trump Street (DonaldTrumpStrasse). That last one probably makes sense, given that the name Saladin is controversial to both sides in the context of the occupied territories: he retook Jerusalem from its last Crusader rulers.

Now I have asked my secret cynical correspondent in the third (and lower) leg of the Middle East tripartite alliance, Saudi Arabia, if there are any similar moves to rename a street or housing development or even a mosque after Donald J Trump. He claims there is no such move, yet. But he hinted that it is likely Trump and Ted Nugent and Sean Hannity may become star attractions at the next Jenadriya Festival (an annual Saudi Desert Hootenanny event).


M. Haider Ghuloum

Roger Cohen on Eschatology, Ayatollahs, the Mahdi, the Rapture, and God’s Promise to Congress……

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“First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, he has no power to conclude them because the supreme leader, who is basically keeping the chair warm for the Prophet, controls all matters of domestic and foreign security and is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. (By the way, the supreme leader, whose name is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, thinks your letter to us is a sign your political system is “disintegrating” — if that’s any help.) So, in effect, the president is standing in for the supreme leader, who is standing in for the hidden imam, who disappeared in the ninth century but could show up whenever. We hope that is clear. In the case of a nuclear accord, it would no doubt be debated by our Majlis, a unicameral consultative assembly or parliament with 290 members, but the debate would not make a whole lot of difference to anything……….”

I admit it is funny, this tongue-in-cheek dabbling in Eschatology, assured to piss off the dour mullahs. A few mistakes: he does not keep a seat warm for the Prophet, nobody believes he will rise again: Roger Cohen got the wrong guy. It is Lent, but ‘His’ body did not rise and vanish, it is still buried in the old grave at Madinah. Unless the Saudi princes remove it to build a mall or a hotel.

But it comes from someone who possibly believes that GOD has promised all of Jerusalem and the West Bank to a certain ‘chosen’ people. Or most people around him do believe in some version of it. Someone who often writes about a Congress and Senate most of whose members also believe in it. As well as believe that when the Rapture occurs at the end of time, all others, especially the Jewish people, and maybe even Al-Qaeda and ISIS killers, will convert to the true faith and start speaking English and join mega-buck churches………..
Still, he makes the point……..

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                         Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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The Wahhabi War on History Continues: Now the Grave of the Prophet……..

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“A fatwa from a Qatari-owned online portal has been widely circulated by Egyptian press this week after it called for the destruction of pharanoic(sic) monuments on the grounds that they are contrary to Islam. The religious edict, issued by Islam Web, was picked up by several independent Egyptian news outlets…….But Egyptian newspapers carrying the story failed to notice the fatwa was first issued in December 2012…………..”

Saudi Alarabiya network is relishing this item about a Qatari fatwa against (Egyptian) monuments (the fatwa goes back to 2012 but Cairo’s subservient press has revived it recently). This indicates that the famous Saudi-Qatari dispute, the Wahhabi civil war, is on again. 
Speaking of destroying monuments, it seems to be a typical Wahhabi/Salafi thing to do. Saudi Arabia has been systematically destroying Islamic monuments over the years. In Mecca and Madinah homes of the Prophet and his early allies were razed and converted to luxury hotels, shopping malls, parking lots. On this case it is a mix of financial greed and Wahhabi doctrine. A few months ago they sent out a trial balloon about erasing, essentially desecrating, the grave of the Prophet Mohammed in Madinah.

The Taliban famously destroyed ancient Bamiyan monuments in Afghanistan. ISIS is destroying museum pieces in Mosul and monuments in other towns in Iraq (and Syria). In Syria Salafis among the ‘opposition’ destroyed shrines, threatened others, and destroyed Christian churches and old Crusader castles. They had threatened to destroy Shi’a shrines, which prompted Lebanese and Iraqi Shi’as to send armed militias to guard them. This led to their further involvement in the Syrian conflict.

Even in historically tolerant Egypt the Salafis have threatened to destroy ancient Islamic monuments, including some from the Fatimid era. Oddly they have left the Pharaonic monument alone, knowing it would be extremely unpopular to destroy major Western tourist attractions.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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The Three Sects of Islam: the Cultural Equivalent of ISIS Yuppies……..

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“The tomb of the Prophet Mohammed is located in the Saudi Arabian city of Medina. The prophet’s remains are under the Green Dome in the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi mosque, which is visited by millions of Muslims every year. According to the U.K.’s Independent, however, a 61-page consultation document outlines plans for destroying chambers around the tomb, which are especially revered by Shi’ite Muslims, and removing the prophet’s remains to an anonymous grave. The document was exposed by a Saudi academic, the Independent said, but there is still no indication that the Saudi goverment has adopted the plans. The document was given to supervisors of the mosque in Medina……….”

Islam is often portrayed as consisting of two major sects: Sunni and Shi’a. In fact culturally Islam consists of three major sects: (1) Sunni (the largest sect), (2) Shi’a (the next largest sect), and (3) Wahhabi (now the smallest sect but it is growing fast nowadays from Indonesia to Morocco and into Europe). There are others, smaller sects and offshoots of the others.

Wahhabi doctrine, unlike Sunni and Shi’a doctrine, is set against the very survival of historic monuments of any kind (now some f them venerate princes and potentates). They are not, however, against making money at the expense of history. Many major monuments of the early Islamic period in central Mecca have been destroyed and replaced with shopping malls and 5-7-star hotels.

If this new report is true, then it represents a brazen attack on the very history of early Islam, by people who do not believe in history and seek to destroy it. Still, I am not sure they can be serious about this plan for the grave of the Prophet, knowing the possible reaction. Maybe it is a trial balloon to see the reaction, or maybe it is a cultural nod to the up and coming fellow Salafis, the new yuppies of ISIS.

If I were prone to exaggeration to make a point, and I am not, I’d say this is the Wahhabi cultural equivalent of the military drive and the massacres of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The paths of the tree and its fruit do not diverge much, to rephrase another cliché (FYI: no, that is not a cliché of a Chinese proverb, although it sounds like it).
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum