Arab American News
August 11, 2000
Arab American News
Organizations emphasize Muslim rights in Jerusalem
Washington, DC – Representatives of major American Muslim organizations
issued a statement that the sanctity of Jerusalem and its Al-Aqsa Mosque,
one of the holiest sites in Islam, was not open to negotiation at the Camp
“No individual or group has the right to sign away Islamic rights in that
city. Any agreement that diminishes Muslim rights in Jerusalem or prevents
refugees from returning to their homes in Palestine would not only be
unworkable but also null and void from an Islamic perspective.
Jerusalem is the city of many prophets of Islam, including David, Solomon,
Zakariah and Jesus. It is mentioned in the Qur’an, Islam’s revealed text as
a city whose precincts have been blessed by God (Qur’an 17:1). Prophet
Muhammad (peace be upon him) told Muslims that Jerusalem is one of the
three cities they should visit as a religious pilgrimage. Arabic speakers
call Jerusalem `al-Quds’ (`The Holy’).
“History shows that Muslim and Christian religious rights are not safe
under an Israeli occupation. We only need to recall the Israeli police
shooting to death 17 Palestinian civilians who challenged Jewish extremists
who sought to lay a `cornerstone’ at the holy sites in 1990, and the
Israeli tunnel built near the foundations of the Haram ash-Sharif (“The
“Since the start of the peace process in 1993 Israel has maintained a
closure of Jerusalem, stifling free movement, economic development and the
freedom of worship of Palestinian Christians and Muslims from the West
Bank. In addition, municipal policies designed by the Israeli occupation
forces create conditions of such psychological and economic pressure that
non-Jews are obliged to move away from the city.
“These were not isolated incidents, but are the result of an Apartheid-like
ideology that seeks to erase all traces of Islam and Christianity in
Jerusalem. As a result of this grave situation, the Muslim and Christian
presence in Jerusalem is being systematically eroded.
“Given this track record we believe that it is fundamentally inappropriate
for President Clinton to pressure the Palestinians into any further
compromise on Jerusalem. We call on President Clinton and on leaders of
Muslim majority countries to refrain from pressuring Yasser Arafat to act
against the will of his own people. Arafat should not be induced to
surrender the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes or to
sign away Muslim rights in Jerusalem.
“No diplomatic sleight of hand will be sufficient to convince Muslims
worldwide that they should give up one of their holiest sites to perpetual
occupation and gradual elimination.
“We call on all people of faith to join in working to create a Jerusalem
that symbolizes religious tolerance and dialogue, not hatred, exclusion and
STATEMENT ENDORSED BY: American Muslim Council (AMC); American Muslim
Foundation (AMF); American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ), Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP);
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA); Islamic Society of North America
(ISNA); Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).