[ by Charles Cameron — beginning an investigation destined to arrive at the Temple Mount / Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem ]
Conquest or courtesy would seem to be two ways in which religions historically treat one another:
I’ve mentioned before how Muslims must feel when they see the cathedral that now erupts from what was once their great Mezquita in Cordoba (upper panel), and how Christians must feel when they witness the huge Muslim decals in what was once their cathedral of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (below).
How about courtesy?
Washington’s (Episcopalian) National Cathedral hosted Muslim Friday prayers two days ago, drawing protests from some (upper panel, below) and prayers from others (lower panel):
Could such an event happen in Saudi Arabia? Could, for example, Christian prayer be permitted in the prophet’s mosque of Huhammed in Medina?
While the Grand Sheikh of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, recently declared that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches” in the Arabian peninsula, the South African Ambassador to the US, Ebrahim Rasool, preaching the khutba at the National Cathedral’s Jummah, forcefully expressed the opposite hope in his sermon:
As we sit in this cathedral today we must commit that that which we desire for ourselves by way of freedom of belief, freedom of worship, and freedom of conscience, we must desire for Christians and those of other faiths in the heartland of Islam.
I shall have more details on his remarks as they concern Muhammad and the Caliph Umar, Medina and Jerusalem, in part 2 of this series. In part 3, we shall explore the explosive situation in Jerusalem.