By now certainly you have heard of the controversial Mosque planned to be built next to the site that America has come to know simply as ‘Ground Zero’, the place where once stood the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Time for a history lesson.
Islamic conquest has been marked through history by construction of a new mosque or conversion of an existing building into a Mosque.
The very first mosque was actually Muhammad’s house in Medina, which also serves as his burial site and is now incorporated into a sprawling structure known as The Mosque of the Prophet. Muhammad established this mosque, also his home, basically as a point of reference to encourage his Companions and subsequently his Medinan converts to unity in prayer to Allah and a community relations and command center. It was established in 622 and served as the beachhead of Muhammad’s wars on the Meccan’s and the Jews. It is considered the second most sacred site of Islam.
The second mosque was the Kaaba, the black “Cube” at the center of the pavilion of the Grand Mosque in Mecca. This is the most sacred site of Islam, and preceded the establishment of Islam by Muhammad in 610 AD. The Kaaba was believed to be built by Abraham and Ishmael, and until Muhammad conquered Mecca and ‘cleansed’ the Kaaba, it housed 360 idols which were worshipped by the Arab tribes. They all prayed to their own god by facing Mecca and their idols. Muhammad destroyed all the idols and re-dedicated Kaaba as a house of Islamic worship only. For the last year and a half (since his ‘Night Journey’ to Jerusalem) Muhammad had ordered Muslims to pray facing Jerusalem (as did the Jews of the area). From this day forward all Muslims were to face Mecca and marked the victory of Islam over paganism in Arabia.
The huge structure surrounding the Kaaba was begun as a modest wall, serving as a Mosque, shortly after the Muslims took Mecca. It was updated and expanded for 1400 years, and took its present shape in the 1960’s under a $4 billion contract awarded by King Faisal to one Mohammed bin Laden, father of Osama, a close personal friend to the royal family.
As Islamic conquest began to rapidly increase after the death of Muhammad in 632 pressing up into the Byzantine and Persian empires, as new territory North and East became secured, the growing Islamic armies turned West. One by one, Byzantine strongholds in Lower Egypt fell until finally the coastal capital city of Alexandria, with her universities and its famous library was sacked and burned.
The new Egyptian capital city of Al-Fustat was built at the head of the Nile Delta where the modern city of Cairo sits. The center of Al-Fustat was the first mosque on the continent of Africa in 642 AD claiming not only Egypt, but would be, in essence, the launching point for the thrust across Northern Africa for the sake of spreading the religion of Allah. This historic mosque was named for the commander of the Army of Islam, Amr ibn al-As and is known as the Mosque of Amr.
The next mosque of historical significance to be built was Al-Aqsa Mosque, or “the farthest Mosque” along with “The Dome of the Rock”, built on the most holy site of Judaism, the Temple Mount. This hilltop was the site of the first temple built by King Solomon immediately after the death of his father King David, 1000 BC. This temple was destroyed by the Babylonians circa 586 BC. After 70 years in captivity the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland and rebuild their Temple. This “Second Temple” was renovated and stood until 70 AD when it was completely and utterly razed by the Romans. True to the prophecy of Jesus Christ there was “not one stone left upon another”. All that remained and yet remains today is the Western Wall, the “Wailing Wall” which is merely a huge retaining wall built to stabilize the mountain and create a level top for the Temple.
“The Dome of the Rock” houses the rock known as the “Foundation Stone” according to Jewish tradition upon which Adam, Cain, Abel , and later Noah offered sacrifices. It is also thought to be the altar upon which Abraham was going to offer Isaac in obedience to the test of God, as well as the rock upon which Jacob slept as he dreamed of the angels descending and ascending the ladder. This is also the stone identified in the Bible upon which David offered his sacrifice after purchasing the land there used as a threshing floor for the future temple. This stone, according to Jewish scholars, is where the Ark of the Covenant rested in the First Temple, the Holy of Holies.
Muhammad said he was taken there by Ul-Baruq, the winged horse, where he prayed and then stepped upon the stone ascending into the ‘7th Heaven’ to receive a message from Allah. After Muhammad’s death, many years later, Caliph Umar was led to the site and told of its significance and a fence was erected around it. The Dome of the Rock was then built in 690AD, almost 60 years after Muhammad died. The Dome was engineered using the same basic measurements as the nearby Church of the Holy Sepulcher built in 326 AD by Constantine.
The Mosque, a separate structure opposite the Dome of the Rock, was first erected by Umar prior to the construction of the Dome and has undergone many reconstructions since. The entire complex covers the 35 acres atop the Temple Mount and testifies to the perceived Islamic superiority over both Judaism and Christianity.
[Consequently, as you can see, the succession of history shows that Jerusalem, built by the Jews around the crown jewel of Judaism, the Temple, was well established for nearly 1700 years before any Islamic presence. Islam was even preceded in Jerusalem by original Christianity by over 600 years, and the Roman Catholic presence which built the several churches and shrines, had been there for over 360 years prior to the first Islamic structure appearing. Crusades notwithstanding, the Temple Mount continues to be claimed by Islam.]
Not far away from Jerusalem to the northeast stands the Grand Mosque of Damascus. This was a Roman Catholic basilica which even still today, houses a shrine containing the (supposed) head of John the Baptist. Incidentally, it also housed the head of Husayn, Muhammad’s grandson, which he lost in the First Fitna (Islamic civil war resulting in Shia and Sunni) as well as the heads of all the other rebels killed and executed at Karbala.
Initially, Muslim conquest of Damascus in 634 did not affect the church and a mosque was added to the south side of it, but Caliph Al-Walid converted the entire structure to a mosque in 706 AD. Al-Walid fostered a building program across the rapidly expanding Islamic empire which changed the architectural look of nearly every city conquered. The Grand Mosque of Damascus was the central structure in the city that was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate for a hundred years.
In 711 Muslim forces crossed the Strait of Gibralter and invaded Western Europe conquering most of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) before being stopped. Cordoba was built by Rome as an important port city around 150 BC. Being located many miles up the navigable Guadalquivir River, it was a key agricultural and strategic location with access to the heartland of the Iberian Peninsula. As the capital city of the Roman Province of Hispania, it was known as a thriving cultural center producing philosophers such as Seneca the Younger and the great orator Seneca the Elder, as well as poets like Lucan.
The “Cathedral of our Lady of the Assumption” was built by the Visigoth’s around 600 AD overlooking the river and the magnificent Roman bridge spanning it. After the Islamic armies penetrated and conquered most of the peninsula, Emir Abd ar-Rahman I purchased the church from the conquered and now dhimmi (submissive) Visigoth’s and reworked the building naming it the Aljama Mosque. Over the next two hundred years of ongoing updates and new construction it became the Great Mosque of Cordoba. This was declared the new capital of the Ummayad Caliphate by Rahman after he fled Damascus, being overthrown by the Abbassid rebels in 750 AD. The next two hundred years in Spain are what is today known in the West as the “Golden Age of Islam”.
The Jews actually did fare better in dhimmitude under the Caliph than under the Visigoth and Roman Catholic rule. Why? The Arabs were a long way from home and needed a cooperative population in order to establish a new beachhead in Western Europe. The Jews had been in Iberia since long before Christ and had suffered persecution by whomever happened to govern, but persecution under Roman Catholic rule was particularly intense. The Quran has passages that make allowances for Jews and Christians who submit and pay the jizya (poll tax for non-Muslims) to be treated decently as long as they remain subservient. This is why Rahman purchase the church instead of simply take it by force. He needed friends among the Infidels. There are Jewish historical records showing that all the great advances made in the sciences during this period which have been claimed or credited to Islam were actually done by Jewish scholars under Islamic rule.
Cordoba quickly became one of the largest cities in the world was believed at one point in the late 900’s to be the largest city of Europe. It maintained its cultural status and at this point boasted the largest library in the world. It was known as one of the most advanced places in the world, not only in culture, but politically, and economically.
[While Cordoba was the gem of the Islamic world, at least west of the Nile, for a couple of hundred years it became the victim of politics and bad blood between Muslim rulers and the Caliphate was moved to Seville and the infighting continued. I suspect that much of the internal problems stemmed from the lifestyles of many of the Muslim Rulers. In my research for this article I discovered that the second Caliph of Cordoba was homosexual and had an exclusively all male harem. Al Hakam II only brought in a female concubine in order to produce for him an heir. Another known bisexual was Al Mutamid ibn Abbad who killed his own lover, the Muslim poet, Ibn Ammar. Al Mutamid was himself known as a great Arab poet and the last King of Seville in Al Andalus.]
Cordoba was finally taken during the long process known as Reconquista, which ended in 1492 at Granada. The Great Mosque was recaptured in 1236 and rededicated as a church, however all the Mosque’s ornate architecture and artwork was left intact. Today it serves as both an active church and a museum.
So what is the purpose of this history lesson?
In Islam, nothing is done by coincidence and everything in the culture, including many dates, names, locations, etc. are symbolic in nature. Islam is very mindful of historic events and places high value in recognizing these and passing it’s traditions on to the next generation. It is this highly regarded value that motivates Islam to perpetrate it’s own culture upon not only it’s vanquished foes, but also uses the cultural aspect of Islam to penetrate host cultures in an effort to supplant the host culture. It has been happening in European countries for many years now, and has been quite successful in creating inroads into other aspects of the host society.
Therefore, we cannot ignore the blatant selection of the name of the “mosque and cultural education center” planned to be built just a few hundred feet from the gaping hole in the surface of Manhattan Island where the Twin Towers stood. The World Trade Center had been known as the center of commerce and finance, not only of the United States but of the free world.
The Cordoba Initiative, as the proposed project is known, commemorates by name the very point of conquest in the Iberian Peninsula, from which was intended to be launched the conquest and conversion of Western Europe. The distance from Arabia, the Frankish Armies, the Pyrenees Mountains, and perhaps the immaturity of the new Islamic religion, all served as major obstacles in that military endeavor, so the focus of the Caliphate was to transform Cordoba into an irresistible cultural and economic center. It was indeed.
The historical “modus operendi” is established. The importance of historical continuity is understood. The intent of Cordoba Initiative, based upon historical behavior, and the fundamental objective of Islam to dominate every society in the world, is obvious. Put pretty names on it, profess benign intent, and feign surprise and dismay to the visceral rejection by freedom loving Americans.
Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, we are onto you. Salam.
The Imam? Oh, that’s another article…