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Commentary; Islam Claims Jerusalem Too; Mideast: Supporters of Israel consistently attempt to diminish Muslims' connection to the city.
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects: Islam; Territorial issues
Author: Abdelkarim, Riad||||||AYLOUSH, HUSSAM
Date: Jul 25, 2000
Start Page: 9
Section: Metro; PART- B; PART-; Op Ed Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

In addition to numerous Koran references, several sayings of the Prophet Muhammad focus on the significance of Jerusalem. In one saying, the Prophet declares that the reward or blessings for a Muslim who prays in Al Aqsa mosque is multiplied 500 times. In another saying, when asked which were the first mosques established on Earth, the Prophet replied that al Haram mosque (in Mecca) was the first, then Al Aqsa mosque (in Jerusalem). Yet another saying advises Muslims not to undertake difficult journeys except to reach three destinations: al Haram mosque in Mecca, the Prophet's mosque in Medina, and Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

While maintaining a strong historical claim to Jerusalem, Muslims also recognize the importance of Jerusalem to the Christian and Jewish faiths. Centuries of peaceful Islamic rule over Jerusalem, during which Christian and Jewish religious sites were protected and preserved, illustrate the esteem in which these other monotheistic faiths are held. This period of Muslim rule also demonstrates that Muslims have a proven track record of being faithful and just custodians of the Holy City. To this day, the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher are entrusted to a Muslim family.

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