A Jewish shrine in Iraq has been converted into a mosque ‘for commercial reasons’, although the local Shi’as had no tradition of revering the shrine as a Muslim holy place. (With thanks: Sami)
An Iraqi gentleman by the name of Hussain Hilli wrote to Professor Shmuel Moreh, formerly head of the Arabic studies department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, quoting an article in the Arabic press by Ali Elumeiri alleging that the ignorance of simple Iraqis is being abused by ‘turbaned people’ (ie mullahs) on the make. These mullahs are “far from the real Islam and its sublime principles. This intention to keep people ignorant, is in order to acquire illegal and forbidden wealth,” Elumeiri writes.
Elumeiri recalls visiting the shrine of Ezra the Scribe at al-Uzair in Amarah province as a child. No one used to visit it as a religious Muslim shrine, he reported, but Muslims treated it as a historic site and came to see its ornamentation and Hebrew inscriptions.
By turning the site into a Muslim shrine the ‘turbaned religious people’ were able to split the income earned from the visitors with the local rabbi. “What is important is that they get some profit in their pockets. This is what is happening in Iraq since the US invasion.”
The Los Angeles Times blog and Israel National News carred reports three years agorevealing the fact that the shrine was now being revered as a Muslim holy site. Repairs to the shrine in 2000 were thought to have been paid for by the tiny Jewish community in Baghdad.