Friday, February 19, 2010

Islamic “Terrorism” and Jerusalem

Islamic “Terrorism” and Jerusalem

In 637, after a prolonged siege of Jerusalem, the Muslims finally entered the city peacefully following the signing of a treaty by the Patriarch Sophronius (i.e. Jerusalem) and Umar himself. As the Patriach had announced that he would not sign a treaty with anyone other than the Caliph himself. For this reason, 'Umar personally came to Jerusalem after the Muslims had established control of all the surrounding territory. According to both Muslim and Christian accounts, 'Umar entered the city humbly, walking beside a camel upon which his servant was sitting, due to the reason they shared turns over it and it was his servant's turn when they reached the city. He is said to have been given the keys to the city by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Sophronius, after conducting the peace treaty known as the Treaty of Umar, the English translation of which is provided below:

Then Umar asked the Patriach to lead him to the place of the old Jewish Temple. Umar was shocked to find the site covered in rubbish, as the Romans had initiated the custom of using it as a dung heap. 'Umar knelt down immediately, and began to clear the area with his hands. When the Muslims saw what he was doing, they followed his example, and soon the entire area of al-Aqsa, approximately 35 acres (14 ha), was cleaned up.[citation needed] Thereafter, commissioned the construction of a wooden mosque on the southern end of the site, exactly where the present-day mosque of Al-Aqsa stands.

'Umar was then led to the sites of the Foundation Stone by a rabbi, Ka'ab al-Ahbar, who had converted to Islam and was his closest advisor. The rock was surrounded by a fence, and several years later an Umayyad Caliph, Abd al-Malik, built the Dome of the Rock over the site. Under Ka'ab's influence upon Umar, the Jews enjoyed great freedoms during Umar's caliphate in comparison with the Christians, and other religious groups.

Upon taking Jerusalem, 'Umar demonstrated the utmost respect for members of the other faiths living in the city. According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica, seventy Jewish families took up residence in the city. 'Umar also agreed to several pacts, called the Covenant of Omar, with the local Christian population, determining their rights and obligations under Muslim rule.[5]