UNESCO last August planned to vote on the historical status of Jerusalem's Temple Mount and its associated Western Wall. Back then, this author stated that UNESCO's plan was to deny any Jewish link to this most central of all Jewish holy sites, to trash a history going back thousands of years, and to claim the Mount and the Wall as Islamic sites.
Islam believes that it is eternal and had therefore preceded the other two great monotheisms, Judaism and Christianity, even though it was only to become visible to the world through Mohammad in the seventh century AD, but entitled to elbow out the two older religions.
Lies by UNESCO to rewrite history, erasing all traces of Judaism and Christianity to favour a jihadist Islamic fancy, were already under way in 2015. UNESCO fraudulently renamed two ancient Biblical Jewish sites, Rachel's Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs -- abracadabra -- Islamic sites.
Historically, Islam did not even exist until the seventh century.
This is the history of Islam, how it takes over -- with both hard jihad (violence) and soft jihad (usurping history, migration [hijrah], political and cultural infiltration), and intimidation (soft jihad with the threat of hard jihad underneath it). What is even more saddening is that often, as with this vote, it is done with the West's cooperation and voluntary submission.
The Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron is now, according to this deeply compromised body, supposedly the "Ibrahimi Mosque," and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem is supposedly the "Bilal ibn Rabah Mosque," even though it never could have been a mosque. As the saying goes, "calling a cat a pig does not make it one."
UNESCO's latest resolution to deny any Jewish link to Jerusalem's Temple Mount, the most central of all Jewish holy sites, is not the first time the body has tried to rewrite and falsify a history going back thousands of years. UNESCO had previously declared the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron (left) as the "Ibrahimi Mosque," and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem (right) as the "Bilal ibn Rabah Mosque." (Images source: Wikimedia Commons)
Now a new lie has been given the sanction of the world's largest and most unaccountable body, whose reason for being is to preserve significant sites, not to bowdlerize them.
On October 13, the news was broadcast that UNESCO had passed a majority vote endorsing this rape of archaeological and Biblical history. On the following Tuesday, the resolution was endorsed by the body's executive board. If your majority, however, consists of members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (the OIC, a bloc consisting of 56 Islamic states plus "Palestine", and possibly the largest bloc at the UN), a fraudulent result such as this should probably not come as a surprise.
An earlier delay and the opposition of UNESCO's chief, Irina Bokova, had raised hopes that this act of jihadist, barbaric, unjust, and, frankly, arrogant supremacism might be voted down. It was not. Following the vote, Bokova issued a powerful statement condemning it, saying, among other things:
"The heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible, and each of its communities has a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city. To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
"Nowhere more than in Jerusalem do Jewish, Christian and Muslim heritage and traditions share space and interweave to the point that they support each other. These cultural and spiritual traditions build on texts and references, known by all, that are an intrinsic part of the identities and history of peoples."
Now the Christian and Jewish worlds will have to deal with the resolution's ramifications, the first of which is that all democracies would be wise immediately to abandon the United Nations, or at the very least to stop funding it, before further harm comes to them too, as it surely promises to do.
The resolution was first proposed to UNESCO by seven Muslim states (Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan on behalf of the Palestinian Authority -- all OIC groupies -- in October 2015. Any reputable body empowered to protect ancient religious sites would have rejected it out of hand and given those responsible a dusty answer.
UNESCO's parent body, the United Nations, has over many years increasingly shown itself as untransparent, unaccountable and thoroughly disreputable -- from its $100 billion, never-prosecuted, oil-for-food embezzlement scandal exposed in 2004, to "Peacekeepers" who demand sex from children in exchange for food; to its incessant, fabricated persecution of one member state, Israel, while giving unlimited passes to the most ostentatious violators of human rights in other nations.
Before the UN, with its authoritarian, anti-democratic voting blocs, finishes eradicating Western, Judeo-Christian civilization, as it is clearly trying to do, it is high time for Western democracies to run, not walk, away.
Of UNESCO's 195 member states, 35 are fully Islamic nations, another 21 are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and four are OIC observer states. That makes 60 who represent a bloc favourable to Muslim-inspired resolutions, yet UNESCO's Board consists of only 58 members. That board approved Resolution 19 with 33 votes in favour, six against and 17 abstentions. Ghana and Turkmenistan were absent altogether. Only six countries voted against the resolution -- the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Estonia. Revealingly, France, Spain, Sweden, Russia and Slovenia were among those who supported it. It is not hard to identify the source of the majority vote.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the move as another "absurd" UN resolution:
"UNESCO ignores the unique Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, the site of two temples for 1,000 years, and the place to which Jews prayed for thousands of years... The UN is rewriting a basic part of human history and proving that there is no low to which it will not reach."
Jewish patience in the Holy Land is being tested to the limit.
UNESCO's vote is just the latest example of Muslim supremacism as expressed in the demolition, re-definition, or outright expropriation of the places of worship, shrines, and other buildings linked to other faiths -- invariably faiths that have long preceded Islam itself, including Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as Judaism and Christianity. The process began in the year 630, two years before the prophet Muhammad's death, when his forces conquered his hometown of Mecca. During a brief stay there, before returning to Medina, he ordered all of the 360 idols in the Ka'aba, and all those in private homes, to be destroyed. The Ka'aba itself, long a centre of pagan worship, was transformed overnight into the most important building of the Islamic faith, the Qibla or the spot towards which Muslims still turn in prayer five times a day. It sits at the heart of the Masjid al-Haram, the most important mosque in the Muslim world.
Early Muslims did more than expropriate the building for their own purposes. They created a legend to justify their possession of the site.
But the Qur'an and subsequent Muslim tradition are not content to re-establish history, bringing Abraham out of the Land of Canaan as far down as the Arabian Peninsula. They transform Abraham himself. According to the Qur'an (3:67): "Abraham was neither a Jew (yahudian) nor a Christian (nasranian), but was rather a pure worshipper of God (hanifan), a Muslim...."
This forms part of a broader enterprise. In Islamic doctrine, all true, monotheist religion has, from the beginning, been only Islam. Thus, Adam was the first Muslim and the first prophet. Abraham was a Muslim and a prophet. Moses was a Muslim and a prophet. Noah was a Muslim and a prophet. Jesus was a Muslim and a prophet. In the beginning, everyone was a Muslim and all land belonged to Islam. In the Qur'an, we read:
"Say, 'We believe in God, and in that which was sent down to us, and in that which was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in what Moses and Jesus were given, and in what the prophets were given form their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we submit."
That last phrase reads nahnu lahu muslimun. It can be read generically, meaning "those who submit themselves to God"; or specifically to mean "We are Muslims."
The belief that all true religions involve submission to God and that, in this sense, all true religion may be defined as "Islam" (literally "submission"), may be taken as a unifying, comprehensive declaration of a universal truth, without prejudice to anyone except "idolaters" such as Hindus and Buddhists.
But this generalization was soon forgotten when Muslims found themselves in competition with the followers of other faiths: Jews in Medina, Christians throughout the Byzantine empire, or Zoroastrians in Iran. Muhammad had originally preached his religion as one in harmony with the views of the "People of the Book," the Jews and Christians who had been sent their own scriptures by God. But not long after his taking control of Medina, he turned on the city's three important Jewish tribes, expelling two, then attacking the third, the Banu Qurayza, beheading all the men and teenage males and taking the women and children as slaves. From here on, the Qur'an is rife with condemnations of the Jews as a people and of Christians as corrupters of scripture: "O believers, do not take Jews and Christians as your friends" (Qur'an 5:51)
Once Muslim armies went out to conquer Persia, Turkey, Greece, the Levant, all of North Africa, the Balkans, Hungary, Poland and then conquered Portugal, Andalusia in Southern Spain and other Christian territories, all sense of an identity with the People of the Book as, in a sense, fellow Muslims, went out the window, to be replaced by a sense of them as dhimmi or subjected people, the preservation of whose lives and property were contingent on the payment of a protection tax (the jizya) and on agreeing to live as humiliated denizens under special laws of subjugation in lands ruled by Islamic caliphates.
One consequence of this unequal relationship were countless rules, including special, marked clothing that predated the compulsory yellow Star of David that Jews were forced to wear during Hitler's Third Reich, and that churches and synagogues could not be founded, repaired, rebuilt or given prominence in competition with mosques; and there could be no audible summons to Jewish or Christian prayers.
More than that, the occupation and transformation of lands of earlier religions -- Persia, Turkey, Greece, all of North Africa and much of Eastern Europe -- proceeded apace during unstoppable Islamic conquests. In Jerusalem, two structures were erected on the Temple Mount (giving rise to the claim for UNESCO's recognition): the Al-Aqsa Mosque (Masjid al-Aqsa, "the Farthest Mosque", although no one has a clue where that might have been; very possibly in Arabia) and the Qubbat al-Sakhra, or Dome of the Rock, constructed on the alleged site of Abraham's aborted sacrifice, no longer of Isaac but now Ishmael, the progenitor of the Arabs. Both were built within the first century of Islam.
There is no need here to list all the churches converted to mosques during succeeding centuries. Most notable are the Hagia Sophia churches of the Christian Byzantine empire in Constantinople, Eregli, Nicaea, and Trebizond, refashioned as mosques after the Ottoman conquest of 1453.
Today, the Islamic State has destroyed or converted churches, shrines, and other monuments (including Muslim sites) in Iraq and Syria.
Similar devastation took place under the various Islamic states in India, with something like 2000 Hindu temples destroyed to make way for mosques and other Muslim structures, while a similar fate befell others.
This extraordinary level of fanaticism is not unique to Islam (one only has to think of Oliver Cromwell and his puritans in England), but it has been far more extensive and has continued for many more centuries.
It is a totalitarian puritanism. Today's resolution against the Jewish faith must be put in this context.
Today, the Mecca and Medina of the first and second centuries of the Islamic faith have been all but wrecked, not by the Islamic State or any other radical entity, but by the Wahhabi Saudi government. In the past two decades, major historical sites in Mecca and Medina, all related to the lifetime of the Islamic Prophet Mohammad and shortly after, have been destroyed or disfigured to the point where neither city is recognizable save for the Ka'ba and the Grand Mosque in Mecca, and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina. And the two major mosques are themselves much expanded modern constructions.
UNESCO has put Jewish sites with Muslim names into Muslim hands, in the heart of Israel's capital, to try slowly to destroy the Jewish state. UNESCO is not fooling anyone.
It may not be long before Christian holy places and churches in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth will also be handed over on a plate to placate the forces of Islam, fearful of what they may do not just in the Middle East, but in Europe, North America and Europe, happy to have someone finally try to eliminate those supposedly pesky Jews. All Judeo-Christian countries would be wise to pull out of the UN, or at least cease funding it -- before it is too late for them, too.
Denis MacEoin is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute. He has just completed work on a large study of Western concerns about Islam.
 See William Montgomery Watt, Muhammad at Medina, Oxford University Press, 1956, p. 69. And see Yousef Meri, Ka'aba, Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guide, Oxford University Press, 2011
 There is more than one version of this tale, but it is broadly this: the Ka'aba was first built by the Prophet Adam with the help of angels, then destroyed in Noah's flood, and finally rebuilt by the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael. The Qur'an itself advances the story about Abraham's role:
"And [remember] when We made the House [that is, the Ka'aba] a place of visitation [a pilgrimage site] for mankind, and a sanctuary, 'Take the place of Abraham as a place of prayer.' And we made a covenant with Abraham and Ishmael, 'Purify My House for those who circumambulate, those who live there in retreat, and those who bow and prostrate." .... And [remember] when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the House, 'Our Lord, accept it from us. Truly, You are the Hearing and the Knowing.'" [Qur'an 2: 125, 127]
 The former Portuguese cathedral of Tangier, now the city's Great Mosque; the Christian basilica of St. John the Baptist, captured in 634 and turned into the Great Umayyad Mosque, one of the oldest, and considered the fourth holiest site in Islam; the small Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, after the Umayyad conquest demolished to make way for the Great Mosque of Córdoba (restored as a cathedral after the Renconquista in 1236). Under the Ottomans, churches in Cyprus and Hungary were replaced as mosques; and as French colonies became independent in the 20th century, many churches were converted into mosques, including the St. Philip Cathedral in Algiers, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Sept Douleurs in Constantine (Algeria), the Tripoli Cathedral and the Benghazi Cathedral in Libya.
 The vast Jannat al-Baqi cemetery, which holds so many remains of Muhammad's family, close companions and the earliest Muslim saints, has been levelled, and all domes and mausoleums turned to dust. That act followed earlier levellings by Wahhabis in 1906 and the ultra-Wahhabi Ikhwan in 1925. Those included the graves of the martyrs of the Battle of Uhud and that of Hamza, the prophet's uncle and most beloved supporter. So too the Mosque of Fatima (Muhammad's daughter), the Mosque of the Manaratayn (the twin minarets), and the cupola that marked the burial place of the prophet's incisor tooth. Medina as well, the home of Muhammad's Ethiopian wife, Maryam, where his son Ibrahim was born, has been paved over. In Mecca, the house of his first wife, Khadija, the first person to whom he divulged his mission, has been turned into public toilets. In 1998, the grave of the prophet's mother, Amina bint Wahb, was bulldozed in Abwa, after which gasoline was poured on it and set alight.