Holy Real Estate

Ralph Peters talks about the tendacy of some religious groups to fight over certain specific pieces of real estate. Wars over holy sites spring up in India and Israel frequently. One reason they do not happen in the US is because the predominate religion is Christianity. In Christianity the church is made up of its members not its meeting places. The church building is not the church.

One of the ways Islam attempted to wipe out other religions was to build mosques on the sites of religious significance to those religions. Thus you have a mosque on the Temple Mount in Israel, the site of the ancient Jewish temple. In India mosques were built on sites that were once Hindu places of worship. Apparently in Islam, once a mosque has been built it becomes a "holy site" that must be defended to the death, usually the death of people of other religions. One of the interesting aspects of the Palestinian occupation of a Christian church in Bethleham during the crackdown on the west bank by Isreali forces, was the comical belief of Arafat that the place might be defiled by Israeli Defense Forces. He seemed very frustrated by the lack of outcry by Christians around the world. He just did not understand that the church is made up of its members not its real estate.

One of the other interesting aspects of the "holy site" belief in Islam is the belief that the site is protected by god. That is why weapons and ammo are stored in moques and why illegal combatants attempt to fight from mosques. There is also a belief that prevoking an attack on a mosque will incite muslims to their fight. It is only because US forces do not want to incite people to rally to their cause that these sites are not destroyed in the same manner as Saddam's bunker. This may be a mistake. The destruction of a "holy site" that is used as a fortress should cause people who truly worship those sites to not put them in danger of destruction.


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