Thursday, April 23, 2009

You Can Do That?

An Egyptian MP is urging that Muslims begin mass pilgrimages to Jerusalem in order to demonstrate "that Jerusalem is for Muslims". The MP hastily rejected the idea that this should be interpreted as normalizing relations with Israel, even though he did say that visitors should even get Israeli visas, if that's what it takes.

Jerusalem is a very important city in Islamic history and theology, and I don't want to deny that -- though I suspect that this MP would not reciprocate in acknowledging that Jerusalem is if anything more important in the Jewish tradition.* At the same time, I'm not sure one can claim legitimate rights to a place by ramping up its religious significance (or at least, making its significance more prominent) ex post facto. Can Jews do the same thing with Hebron? Jews make pilgrimages to New York City for bagels all the time -- can we claim it as a "Jewish city"?

* Simply because Jerusalem is Judaism's holiest city, whereas it ranks third in Islam behind Mecca and Medina.


PG said...

Muslims didn't think much of this argument when they were destroying a Hindu temple and building a mosque at Lord Ram's birthplace. I wonder what the Eyptian MP thinks of the Hindu nationalists' destroying the Babri Mosque based on such "this site is more important to my religion than to your religion" reasoning.

(Not being a deist, I don't believe any god ever was born anywhere, but if we're going to start scoring based on religious significance, the birthplace of Vishnu's incarnation is going to be a bit more significant to Hindus than one of hundreds of mosques will be to Muslims. Babri Mosque is far less notable for any theological significance than as an architectural accomplishment.)

Jenny said...

Speaking of seperate nationalities in other countries, I've been talking to a person who's in favor of a no state solution, here's his explanation:

"Right. I think a state-system in what was formerly the Palestine mandate is essentially a leftover from British colonialism (state-systems the world over are holdovers from colonialism--and interestingly, some of the most violent conflicts in the world, those most in danger of going literally nuclear, are tied into British colonialism, for example, Kashmir/India/Pakistan).
so I think there's no economic or moral reason for ethnically exclusive nation-states, and i don't think it's right that any fiction have rights (a state is, after all, a fiction, an idea that we use to legitimate the actions of people inside of it. a state itself has no autonomy, because a state can't do anything without the volition of the people who act within its apparatus).
This is somewhat utopian, no question, but only somewhat."

chingona said...

Only somewhat.

PG said...

Imagine there's no countries. It isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion too. Imagine all the people. Living life in peace. Yooohooo...