Analysis: Poisonous legacy of ‘Hitler’s Mufti’ makes peace impossible

How does the “status quo” on the Temple Mount promote peace when it encourages Muslims to threaten violence in order to prevent Jews from praying at their holiest site?

By Petra Marquardt-Bigman, The Algemeiner

The Trump administration’s recently released “Peace to Prosperity” plan may be controversial, but it includes one provision on page 16 that gets to the core of the conflict it seeks to solve: “People of every faith should be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.”

Whomever disagrees with this stipulation is quite simply not interested in a genuine peace.

No matter what the details of any peace plan might look like, there is no justification for barring Jews from freely visiting and openly praying at their faith’s holiest site. The fact that nobody really dares to say so goes a long way towards explaining why the conflict between the Palestinians — supported by the wider Arab-Muslim world — and the world’s only Jewish state has remained so intractable.

The long Arab-Muslim war against self-determination for the Jews in their ancient homeland began a century ago, prominently led by Haj Amin al-Husseini, whose enthusiastic collaboration with the Nazis would eventually earn him the moniker “Hitler’s mufti.”

Husseini realized early on that fanning the flames of religious Jew-hate would enable him to mobilize murderous mobs whose savage violence was meant to demonstrate the futility of Jewish hopes to establish a safe haven in their ancestral homeland.

Fabricating a charge that was no less vicious than the medieval blood libel, Husseini insinuated that the Jews were plotting to take over and destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in order to rebuild the Temple. This vicious libel was not only used to incite the notorious Hebron massacre in 1929, but it also remained a powerful source of incitement during the years of the murderous Al-Aqsa intifada (2000-2005).

Even now, the Al-Aqsa libel is reflected in the false reports that are regularly spread by Palestinians and their supporters whenever Jews visit the Temple Mount. Just google “settlers storm Al-Aqsa” and you will get hundreds of thousands of “reports” denouncing Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount as vicious intruders bent on desecrating an exclusively Muslim holy site.

But apparently no one feels that the countless hate preachers who regularly hold forth at the Al-Aqsa Mosque are desecrating what is supposedly Islam’s third holiest site. In the latest example from last month, a preacher fired up a large crowd in the mosque’s courtyard with rhetoric that echoed the ideology of the most extremist Islamist terror groups.

One could cite a depressingly long list of examples to illustrate that the seeds sown by “Hitler’s mufti” proved all too fruitful. Anyone who claims to want peace must work to put an end to his poisonous legacy. Yet as far as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his officials are concerned, Husseini should be honored as a Palestinian “pioneer” and “role model.”

When it comes to the Temple Mount, it is downright pathetic when politicians and pundits insist that the “status quo” on the site must be preserved for the sake of peace. How does it promote peace when the “status quo” encourages Muslims to threaten violence in order to prevent Jews from praying at the holiest site of their faith? How does it promote peace when the “status quo” indulges persistent Muslim denial of the historic Jewish attachment to the Temple Mount, as well as the site’s significance for many Christians?

So if you want peace in the Middle East, start with page 16 of Trump’s plan — you don’t even have to be religious to realize that once Jews, Christians, and Muslims can pray together for peace on the Temple Mount, the extremists that have condemned the region to war and misery will face decisive defeat.

Petra Marquardt-Bigman is a German-Israeli freelance writer and researcher with a Ph.D. in contemporary history.