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Osama bin Laden fatwas.
This monster's own words will
lead to his destruction
Definition of fatwa (fatwah)
Maravot News Comment


August 1996

Maps of interest
Click on maps for larger image
Russia, Belarus and neighbors
Iraq and neighbors
Afghanistan & neighbors
Kazakhstan & neighbors

Historical map of Israel. Figure 2 shows the area allocated to
Israel by the UN in 1948. Compare to Israel' s interactive map below of its controversial security wall

Israel's Security Fence. Click on image for larger view.

(AP photo) Click photo for story

Middle East Watch

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Relevant Works by Mel

The Romance of Anais, an Arthurian-style tale written 1996 describing how Bush got us in the mess in Iraq with a short commentary on the
Chang-an cheat

Duty & Profit, Nov. 1994
Against Leviathan, Jan. 1993
Immoral Coercion, Dec. 1994
Philistia Triumph thou
because of me
, Dec. 1993
Tapestry of One – on the creed of Buddha,
Quest for Human Dignity, July 1994

I am not responsible for the
content of any links
from this site.

The “Allah” Controversy

A controversy highlighting issues
among Muslims, Christians & Jew

By Mel Copeland

Chapter 12

Reconciliation of the faiths that derive their authority from the Bible must be based upon the Bible. We have established that the Koran intended and argued to a great extent that it was written to confirm the Bible (i.e., Jewish Scriptures, Torah and Gospel of Jesus). It also acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah.

The Messiah is a word peculiar to the Bible, and to understand what is meant by the Messiah one must necessarily review those scriptures and interpretations of the ancient scholars as to the meaning of Messiah. We have reviewed in this document a few of those scriptures, sufficiently to establish that there are at least two appearances anticipated, one having to do with a Suffering Messiah and the other a King Messiah. In the context of the New Testament, Jesus and his later Christian Church understood his role as that of the Suffering Messiah. Jesus, in Luke 21 et al., pointed out that he would come again and listed the signs that would relate to his Second Coming. It is clear in the Gospels that his Second Coming was anticipated even in their own generation and that when he comes he would establish the Kingdom of God on earth, an eternal kingdom of Peace, as prophesied. This period is also a time called the Last Days, or Day of Resurrection, also described in Revelation and in II Peter as a "new heavens and a new earth." It was also described as a day of darkness and gloominess, and out of it would be seen a great light.

The Messiah is described as a man of great wisdom that brings light and salvation. He is the redemption of all peoples in the eyes of God. There are scriptures that describe the Redeemer Messiah
who appears with the restoration of the Children of Israel to the Holy Land as one who calls and no one answers, who seeks comforters and finds none, He "has trodden the winepress alone." He is a judge and the scriptures warn to beware of him. He simply is not recognized: The rabbis recognized that he might be isolated from the world:

Bavli LXXXVII.F Would he then, if all the world is heretic, be also to the world, a heretic?

One can see in reviewing the modern faiths of the Bible, including Christian dogmas and dogmas from the Koran, that there are anomalies between what they account as truth and what the Old Testament Scriptures and Gospels of Jesus represented.

At the same time modern Jews can acknowledge that they have been restored to the Holy Land, after a 2,000 year exile. The restoration has created many political problems that have to date (March 2010) been plagued with historical fears and animosities. The Jews have fears of being scattered again, and persecuted among the nations. Thus, they can express their reservations in establishing a peace in the Middle East, recognizing that there are many peoples who threaten their existence. Also, we cannot overlook the fact that the people, once restored, do multiply (whether they are exiled Jews or Palestinians) and the composition of the inhabitants of the land will change through time. Palestinians have fears of being "Judaized," an expression that hearkens back to early Pauline teaching. The term among them and the Muslim world turns political when Zion is described as their enemy. The fear has to do with the question, "Who possesses Jerusalem?" We all possess it.

Thus, any peace agreement formed for the Middle East must respect the fact that the population in the Holy Land will grow, necessitating new settlements. Israelis have said in effect, "You cannot expect us not to grow. That would be like telling the people of Philadelphia, Paris, London, etc. not to grow." We also can look at the people of Gaza and the West Bank who have been walled in by Israel. How can they grow, trapped behind the barrier wall
without the basic necessities of life?

The people of the Holy Land should not live in fear of religious extremists who would destroy one group to protect another, whether they are Christian, Jew or Muslim. In addressing this need, we should agree that interpretations by scholars that use God as their authority to destroy others need to be exposed and cast down. We can weigh those scriptures to the teachings of Jesus who emphasized that all of the commandments of God can be fulfilled by two commandments:

"Love the Lord thy God with all your heart and soul
And the other is like it: Do not unto others what you would have done to you."

In effect, by following the Golden Rule you will serve man and God in truth, being also merciful and charitable. The Golden Rule has been at the core of the teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and the teachings of Confucius. Also, we can note other perceptions on the Oneness of God: The infinite nature of God as taught by Buddha was described as Nirvana complete unity with God, and in unity with God the loss of individual identity; i.e., extinction — was the ultimate being. (His disciples ignored the "loss of identity, unity" idea and worshipped him as a god.) The Brahmins in the Hindu religion, "Upanishads," spoke of God as the unity of being, called the Self. Buddha's teachings stem from these precepts (See more on this in "Tapestry of One.") For instance:

Chandogya Upanishad, Chapter VI, "The Story of Shvetaketu"
: " 'In the beginning was only Being,
One without a second.
Out of himself he brought forth the cosmos
And entered into everything in it.
There is nothing that does not come from him.
Of everything he is the inmost Self.
He is the truth; he is the Self supreme."
You are that, Shvetaketu; you are that."
9.1 "As bees suck nectar from many a flower
And make their honey one, so that no drop
Can say, 'I am from this flower or that,'
All creatures, though one, know not they are that One."
There is nothing that does not come from him.
Of everything he is the inmost Self.
He is the truth; he is the Self supreme.
You are that, Shvetaketu; you are that.
10.1 As the rivers flowing east and west
Merge in the sea and become one with it,
Forgetting they were ever separate rivers,
So do all creatures lose their separateness"
When they merge at last into pure Being.
There is nothing that does not come from him.
Of everything he is the inmost Self.
He is the truth; he is the Self supreme.
You are that, Shvetaketu; you are that."
12.7 "Please, Father, tell me more about this Self."
"Yes, dear one, I will," Uddalaka said.
"Place this salt in water and bring it here
tomorrow morning." The boy did.
"Where is that salt?" his father asked.
"I did not see it."
"Sip here. How does it taste?"
"Salty, Father."
"And here? And there?"
"I taste salt everywhere."
"It is everywhere, though we see it not.
Just so, dear one, the Self is everywhere,
within all things, although we see him not.
There is nothing that does not come from him.
Of everything he is the inmost Self.
He is the truth; he is the Self Supreme.
You are that, Shvetaketu; you are that."

Chandogya Upanishad,Chapter VIII, "Narada's Education"
23.4 "I seek to know the Infinite, Venerable One."
24.1 Where one realizes the indivisible unity
of life, sees nothing else, hears nothing else,
knows nothing else, that is the Infinite. Where
One sees separateness, hears separateness,
knows separateness, that is the finite. The
Infinite is beyond death, but the finite
cannot escape death.
25.1 The Infinite is above and below, before
and behind, to the right and to the left. I am all
this. The Self is above and below, before and
behind, to the right and to the left. I am all
this. One who meditates upon the Self
and realizes the Self sees the Self everywhere,
and rejoices in the Self. Such a one lives in
freedom and is at home wherever he goes. But
those who pursue the finite are blind to the
Self and live in bondage.

Jesus taught along the same lines, For instance (from Father is greater.html):

John 17.4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
John 17.5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
John 17.6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were,and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
John 17.7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
John 17.8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them,
and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
John 17.14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
John 17.15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
John 17.16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
John 17.17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
John 17.19 For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
John 17.20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
John 17.21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
John 18. 37 ..To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
John 6.38 ..I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
John 6.39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the Last Day.
John 5.39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
John 5.46..had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
John 5.47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
John 4.34 ..My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
John 10.29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
John 10.30 I and my
Father are one.
5.21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
Matthew 5.22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.
Matthew 9.13 Jesus replied, I have come to call sinners into repentance

Jesus believed that he had come to confirm the Law of Moses:

Luke 16.17 It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than one tittle of the law to fail.

Mathew 5.17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
Mathew 5.18 For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Relating to the possibility that Jesus believed that he was in the Last Days is the scriptural identity of his cousin, John the Baptist, versus himself.

Matthew 11.8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.
Matthew 11.9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
Matthew 11.10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Matthew 11.13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
Matthew 11.14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
Matthew 17.11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.

This is the prophesy concerning Elias (Elijah):

Malachi 4.4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
Malachi 4.5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord!

There are several versions of the Gospels that speak of who Jesus thought he was (some calling Jesus the son of God). Luke gives this version:

Luke 9.18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?
Luke 9.19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.
Luke 9.20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.
Luke 9.28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James and went up into a mountain to pray.

Mark 8.29 Thou art the Christ

Marthew 16.16 Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

We note here the landmark document, A Common Word, attempting to reconcile the faiths, involving the world's leading Muslim and Christian scholars, :

"...sent as an open letter signed by 138 leading Muslim scholars and intellectuals (including such figures as the Grand Muftis of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Oman, Bosnia, Russia, Chad and Istanbul) to the leaders of the Christian Churches and denominations all over the world, including H.H. Pope Benedict XVI. In essence it proposed based on verses from the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Bible — that Islam and Christianity share at their core, the twin “golden” commandments of the paramount importance of loving God and loving the neighbor. Based on this joint common ground, it called for peace and harmony between Christians and Muslims worldwide. Since the launch of A Common Word in October 2007, over 60 leading Christian figures have responded to it in one form or another, including H.H. Pope Benedict XVI, H.B. Orthodox Patriarch Alexi II of Russia, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, and the Presiding Bishop of the Lutheran World Federation, Bishop Mark Hanson (see “Christian Responses” at On November 2007, over 300 leading US Evangelical leaders also responded in an open letter in the New York Times. In the meantime, the Muslim Scholars signing the initiative increased to around 300,, with over 460 Islamic organizations and associations endorsing it."

The document introduces its argument as follows:

The Shema in the Book of Deuteronomy (6:4-5), a centerpiece of the Old Testament and of Jewish liturgy, says: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! / You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.15

Likewise, in the New Testament, when Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is asked about the Greatest Commandment, he answers: But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. / Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, / “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”/ Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ / This is the first and greatest commandment. / And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’/On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40)

And also:

Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” / Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear,O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. / And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. / And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark12:28-31) The commandment to love God fully is thus the First and Greatest Commandment of the Bible. Indeed, it is to be found in a number of other places throughout the Bible including: Deuteronomy 4:29, 10:12, 11:13 (also part of the Shema), 13:3, 26:16, 30:2, 30:6, 30:10; Joshua 22:5;Mark 12:32 and Luke 10:27-28."

The key word in the "A Common Word" document is the word "Messiah." Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr
at the Papal Audience at the First Seminar of the Catholic-Muslim Forum, Clementine Hall Thursday, 6 November 2008 ("A Common Word," page 236) provides his explanation of Islam's view of the Messiah:

With so many profound similarities, why then have we had such a long history of confrontation and opposition? The answer is that we of course also have our differences which have providentially kept Christianity and Islam distinct and separate. Let us mention just a few of them. We emphasize Divine Unity and reject the idea of a triune God, while you emphasize the Trinity while believing God to be One. We and you both revere Christ but in a different manner, and we do not accept the Christian account of the end of his earthly life. And yet, we Muslims also accept Christ as the Messiah (al-Masih) and expect his second coming at the end of the history of present humanity. We emphasize Divine Law (al-Shari‘ah) as rooted in the Qur'anic revelation, while Christ asserted his break with the Law in the name of the Spirit. Therefore, Christians do not have the same conception of Divine Law as do Jews and Muslims. Nor do Christians have a sacred language as does Islam, but have used, and some still do use, several liturgical languages...

We believe that "A Common Word" signatories and leaders, including those of the subsequent forums, will find a greater need to inquire into the Word, as in the steps we address here; and perhaps the best way to do this is to walk in the similitude of the Messiah. First they need to inquire as to what the Old Testament said and intends in the Messiah; then they ought to place themselves in the shoes of that being as described. (It isn't easy.) In the Similitude of the Messiah you would be compelled to correct the comment, "while Christ asserted his break with the Law." Christ argued on many occasions that he had not come to break the law but to confirm it.

We can reflect on many verses in the Gospels that carry Jesus's ideas on his mission, his relationship to the Father (both of which can be read in the Lord's Prayer) and his argument that he would come again in the Last Days. In this he argued that it would be in the very same generation. This belief that the Last Days were at hand was common among the Jews and particularly espoused by the Essenes who lived at Qumran. They regarded themselves as God's Watchmen (as listed in Ezekiel above) and referred to themselves as the Sons of Zadok. Zadok was King David's high priest and is best remembered for preserving the Law of Moses.

Concerning Exodus 19.18 the prophesy "I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee..." the rabbis said: Genesis Rabbah, LXVIII-XII.4E "And behold, the angels of God: These are Moses and Aaron..." Jesus claimed to be the Angel or prophet of whom Moses wrote:

John 5.46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
John 5.47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
John 7.16 My doctrine is not mine but his that sent me..
John 12.44 Jesus cried and said, he that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.
John 12.45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.
John 12.46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
John 12.47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not; for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
John 12.48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the Last Day.
John 12.49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

Luke 12.2 There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed.

Matthew 24.34 This generation shall not pass till all be fulfilled.

In the role of the Messiah

Mediators of the Holy Land have their own biases and interests, but they must also
as if standing in the role of the Messiah place themselves in the same position as those people already living there. Their judgments must be offered as if they themselves must change places with those who are in the Holy Land, as beneficiaries to the peace of Jerusalem. No mediator would welcome life in a home that is threatened every day with rockets coming out of Lebanon or Gaza. Likewise, no mediator would welcome life in a home in Gaza with retaliatory missiles fired upon their heads. No mediator should enjoy living trapped within walls, neither should they enjoy living trapped between nations hoping to exterminate them. All mediators would prefer if they were required to live in the Holy Land to enjoy the best measures of life in safety, prosperity and a common brotherhood of men in trade and public service. They would want to have all the benefits of a free society, worshipping God as they choose. They would not want to live in a society where they or their women and children would be treated as second class citizens but rather enjoy the right given to all people, that all people are equal before the law.

While interested governments
including the United Nations have taken a direction of forming two independent states, of Israel and Palestine, history has shown that the two peoples revert to armed, violent struggles in the Holy Land, but for some reason live peacefully together in other places in the world. It may be that the source of the difficulties in the Holy Land has to do with the name of the state in which the peoples choose to live. So let's try something new. Let's rename the land (God renames people and places to signify a new person or place under Him; for instance, He gave Judah the name Israel.). According to prophecy the name "Beula" means "married" (to God). We thus can call the Holy Land Beulah. Within the land the government of Beulah would recognize two semi-autonomous states: Israel and Palestine. The capital of Beulah would be Jerusalem.

Just as in any other federal republic, the people could live wherever they choose. Representation in the Congress of Beulah would have to take into consideration that there will be population changes and that no plurality of population, such as Jews over Palestinians or visa versa, will dominate the political agenda. That is to say the two states would have to have equal representation in the Congress of Beulah.

This may prevent the chaos and horror of having two armed camps fighting over Jerusalem and the Holy Land. We suggested a similar plan in a work, Philistia triumph thou because of me."

Parallel to resolving the political structure of the Holy Land should be a conference among the faiths to resolve their differences, knowing:

The Koran confirms the Bible It does not replace it, neither can it change the Word nor place limitations on God; Allah is another name given to God; the Koran cannot contradict that which it confirms.
The New Testament adds to the Bible confirming Old Testament scriptures. It does not replace the Old Testament, neither can it change the Word of God.
Many scriptures of The Tanakh (Old Testament / Jewish Scriptures) have been fulfilled, such as Isaiah 7.14 of the Virgin, of the scattering of the people of Israel to all the nations.
God is one, ineffable, indescribable, without limit. As such he cannot be limited; the Triune God, (Son, Holy Spirit and God, the father) describe aspects of the One God, just as the several names of God (rabbis count as many as 70) describe various aspects of his being but not the totality. While his word also cannot be limited nor can he be limited in messengers He also can repent of his word, as in the instance of Jonah:

Jonah 3.9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
Jonah 3.10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

A symbol of an agreement among the three faiths should include opening the Golden Gate of Jerusalem, allowing all men to go up to the mount to pray. It is a symbol of tearing down the walls that separate them. Hopefully, the barrier walls can come down following this. If the Golden Gate cannot be opened to allow the righteous to enter, then the Peace of Jerusalem cannot be realized.

With an agreement that the Koran confirms the Bible and thus cannot contradict it, all calls by Islamists to kill or harm others on behalf of God should be anathema, using the teachings of Jesus as a guide. Neither can Christians and Jews use God to justify violent means and break the Peace of Jerusalem.

While it is consoling to know that there has been major progress in the reconciliation of the faiths from Abraham, the focus on the two commandments, of loving the Lord God with all thy heart and soul and doing unto others as you would have done to you (Golden Rule), begs the basic issues at hand. For many religions generally apply the Golden Rule and worship a supreme deity. They also can sign onto the agreement. In spite of this apparent universal agreement we still have no promise of peace. It merely disguises motives and lacks an interest in true correction.

We were touched by the various comments made to the "A Common Word" document, but also concerned that many of the faiths, Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, etc., included in their discussion the importance of maintaining their individual identity. From Heaven's point of view the intention of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven (Lord's Prayer) is to promote unity, bringing all of the streams of faith into the one ocean. Keeping your separateness, of course, merely accounts to bucking the current of God (using the simile from the Upanishads).

For my part, there can be a reconciliation involving many faiths, but to achieve this we would ask that you also pay attention to another, perhaps universal commandment: Know thyself. (This document endeavours to help us to see the souls behind the attestations.) "Know thyself" was placed above the door to Apollo's Temple, the patron deity of Delphi, Greece. The message here is that God also has a "Self" and has a point of view, purpose, and means to accomplish his purpose. He also has the insight to know that you will need to take greater steps to get through his door, and furthermore, fighting his current (returning to our simile) will get you drowned.

I expect that the time is ripe to really attack these matters by convening representatives of the faiths to produce an opening to the Gate of Righteousness, which is the Golden Gate in Jerusalem. We will focus on the Messiah and his responsibilities, approaching the matter ourselves in the similitude of the Messiah. Until the gate is opened there can be no peace in Jerusalem. I should lead the conference, as I know the faiths and God
a God not without vision, hearing, understanding and judgment — and in his wisdom, long-suffering in charity and mercy.

Though we have much more to say we have restricted this document to ~50 pages to match "A Common Word." Your feedback would be welcomed.

Appendix A

Maravot News article 05.25.10 Grant death for blasphemy: Islamists to UN highlights the need for an immediate discussion involving misunderstandings on the Koran. In this article published by, a conference of Islamist organizations based in Pakistan, led by JuD chief Hafiz Mohd Saeed, have decided to contact the UN for enacting a global law "against blasphemy of prophets and awarding death penalty to violators." Included in their foundations is the Wahhabi sect doctrine, sometimes called the "Puritans" of Islam. The views of the conference thus include doctrines spread from Saudi Arabia around the world, including several hundred Wahhabi mosques across the US. Connected with the "Allah Controversy" is the status of the prophet Mohammed and expectations on the coming of the Messiah, or Jesus's role as the Messiah.

The Messianic expectations include the Iranian, Shi'ite belief in the 14th century Mahdi who will come again, with Jesus, to save and correct the world and who will make Iran once again a great power in the world. Also associated with Messianic expectations are those of "the Jewish Messiah" who both Muslims and Jews believe will restore the Temple of Herod, tearing down the "Dome of the Rock" mosque to make room for it. In our comments, Maravot News 9.27.09,
"Confusion on the mount." we said:

During the occupation of Palestine by the Ottoman Empire (1299 - 1923) the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I sealed off the main gate to the Temple Mount (called the Golden Gate) in 1541 to prevent the Jewish Messiah from entering the mount. They believed that the Jewish Messiah would destroy the (Muslim) Dome of the Rock to rebuild the Temple that had been destroyed during the siege of the Roman General Titus in 70 A.D. Jews believe that when the Messiah comes the Temple will be rebuilt. Thus, from these perceptions alone we can see that the Sealed Golden Gate is a symbol of both religious perceptions, as to who is holy to God, and the de facto situation as to who has the right to occupy the Holy Land.

The foundations of Islamist terrorism begins with the thesis from the Koran that Mohammed is the last prophet of God and an offense against him or his teachings is an offense against God. The penalty for offending God is death. The Iranian Mullahs, led by Alli Khamenei, have invoked this doctrine to the extreme (like other Islamist clerics who murder on behalf of God) and declared that an offense against Khamenei is an offense against God and offenders are "mohareb," who by Iran law are executed. Maravot News 6.28.09 article 6.26.09 G8 'deplore' Iran poll violence carries a sub-story on this doctrine: "Iranian cleric says 'rioters should be executed' : "....Khatami, a member of the Assembly of Experts, said the judiciary should charge the leading 'rioters' as 'mohareb' or one who wages war against God. 'They should be punished ruthlessly and savagely,' he said. Under Iran's Islamic law, punishment for people convicted as 'mohareb' is execution..."

We in the United States like to separate opinions and doctrines on religion from politics. However, in today's world the greatest danger to peace is considered to be Islamist terrorism which accounts its enemy Western practices such as capitalism, democracy and equal rights for women, etc. They strive for the destruction of communities that do not invoke their shariah law. Another political front engaging religious doctrine involves Israel. Israel was founded (or restored) to the Holy Land after a 2,000 year diaspora, and its restoration is founded on religious grounds; for according to Jewish tradition (The Old Testament, the Talmud, Oral Torah, etc.) it was prophesied that they would be scattered to all the nations and after being scattered once again restored (also called "redeemed," as one redeems a wife, to the Holy Land). The time of the redemption was described as "the Last Days," a day of judgement. The Koran warns its followers to heed the "Day of Judgment."

Israel's Declaration of Independence acknowledges the promise of the Jewish Scriptures and their prophets and recognizes them as the basic law of the land. That law justifies possession of the land by the Jews because their patriarch Abraham and his sons (through Jacob who was renamed "Israel") were promised that land, as told in the book of Genesis and repeated by the prophets, such as Ezekiel and Isaiah.

Map of the Holy Land, showing the 12 tribes of Israel (Facsimile copy) made by Pietro Visconete (14th century), modelled on much of Marino Sanudo's map, sometime earlier (Lost now) From Eretz Israel / Palestine Collection, Gallery Eretz-Hemdat (Yaakov Aviel's map collection of the Holy Land, auctioned on 19 July 1981) 1984. Click here for similar, easier to read map from the same collection.

Since the promise included all of the lands from the Euphrates river to the Egyptian river, those within that area have feared Israeli presence. Saddam Hussein, in the Desert Storm War, launched Scud missiles from Iraq into Tel Aviv based on his fear that Israel laid claim to his land, "as far as the Euphrates." In the south concerning the "river of Egypt," Israel agreed that its southern border, or the "river of Egypt," is a wadi that presently marks its southern border. Israel returned all of the land in Sinai south of that border to Egypt, after the Six-day War.

Israeli settlements and the disposition of Jerusalem are also related to religious expectations. While Israelis and Palestinians both have made it clear that Jerusalem is their capital, Jewish settlements within Jerusalem and the West Bank territory continue to be an obstacle to peace between the two groups. The fact remains that the Jews share a belief
like Americans espousing "manifest destiny" that it is their destiny to occupy the land of their forefathers. Spurring this movement is the reality that populations can grow, requiring more space in which to live. However, by tradition Israeli space is limited, according to the geography of their twelve tribes and the land allocated to them. See also Maravot's "Ancient maps of Israel" ;, "Maps of historical Israel, Palestine and the region." ;, "Perry Castañeda map collection."

Letters to advocates for the reconciliation of the faiths:

Cordoba Initiative
New York, New York

Dear Imam Feisal,

Your work in reconciling the faiths is appreciated. There are many around the world, as you know, who are reaching out between the Christian and Muslim worlds. I believe that much more can be achieved since the first Interfaith Conference held in Madrid, under the auspices of Saudi King Abdullah in July 2008, then in Kazakhstan in July 2009. A more recent initiative, "A Common Word," from 138 Muslim scholars and intellectuals, coordinated by Jordan's Prince Talal, offers a greater opportunity to get down to brass tacks, exploring the Word upon which the faiths are based (including other faiths, such as the Sikhs and
Bahá'í, who recognize the holiness of the Jewish Scriptures and Gospel (sic. the Bible) and the Koran.

Since the Koran says in many places that it was written to confirm [the truth of] the Jewish Scriptures and Gospel, it can be said outright and is recognized by many Islamic scholars that there should be no real difference between the faiths of the Koran and the Bible, and where there are differences they can be exposed and set aside, having no central affect to the argument the Bible makes, regarding the sublime purpose encapsulated in the Lord's Prayer. In this Christians are taught to pray for "a kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven." Whilst people set their sites on heaven (paradise) we can ask why they are not focusing their good will and attention in bringing the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.  Bin Laden has been promising Islamist martyrs who murder for Allah a place in paradise, served by seven virgins, whilst the entire direction of the Bible has been to bring about (or restore) paradise on earth.

In exploring this misdirection in Islam we cannot help to recognize that the same misdirection occurs in modern Christian teachings (from the Apostle Paul) which maintain that in the Last Day (Day of Judgment) they (the saved) will be caught up with Jesus returned in the clouds and snatched away to heaven. For my part I see this point of view a bit self-serving and not in support of the intended mission listed by the Old Testament prophets.

Without an inquiry into these foundations, the world is left in the lurch
each pastor, rabbi and imam teaching according to his own personal hopes and plans. Even in my highest expectations through the document, " A Common Word," organizations who saw common agreement pointed out that they still reserved the right to worship according to their own ways. In effect they said, "We know there is a greater teaching under which we can unite, but we prefer to go our own way." They believe that they are saying this to their peers, but in fact they have said it to God. (The prophets complained about this problem among the pastors; See Jeremiah 12.10, for instance, "Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.")

If we were to focus on the Day of Judgment, as per the prophets, even as the Koran claims that it will be confirmed on that day, no doubt we might assume the simile of the Judge, looking upon the faiths from the Biblical (Heavenly) point of view. "They have all gone astray; not one doeth good," is one of the judgments expressed by the prophets for that Day of Judgment.  Because of this and other judgments expressed by the prophets, that day was also called the Day of Wrath, when nation rises up against nation, etc. Since the Judge (also called the Messiah, as listed in the Koran) appears in the Day of Wrath, it follows that He might be one that is feared. (Isaiah 59.19-20 "So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the West, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.."  And Jeremiah 23.20 says, "The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till He have performed the thoughts of his heart: In the Latter Days ye shall consider it perfectly.")

Now we all know what the thoughts of His heart are. They include peace to the brokenhearted, a comfort to those in mourning. For those who haven't given much thought to this I have prepared a list of Messianic epithets from the Bible. Since the Koran acknowledges the Messiah and the Gospel, it follows that those epithets are, in the sense of a Messianic being, epithets also endorsed by the Koran. Many of these epithets involve the final status of the Holy Land.

Looking at the situation as a whole we noted that a controversy out of Malaysia, called the "Allah Controversy," embodies the entire spectrum of misunderstandings between Muslims and Christians. In following the controversy to its end and reconciling the differences separating Muslims, Jews and Christians, we can correct some assumptions that have fostered violence and give them a new heart by which we can produce a more just world. I prepared a document building upon "A Common Word," called "The Allah Controversy," :

I have proposed to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton that we hold an interfaith conference using "The Allah Controversy" as the manifest through which the conference must work. It highlights the major issues to be resolved and their political and religious relationships. It is a means of separating the chaff from the wheat as it were. A part of the discussion called "Philistia triumph thou because of me," was one of a handful of documents on the internet that linked to in the early years of its existence.

I would like to gather an initial group together to discuss the issue and refine and implement the argument from there. As a minimum it would defuse expectations of extremists doing violence on behalf of their god.

Everyone likes to participate in the work of salvation according to their own ideas and ways, which is why these dark days of murderous outrage have continued and no doubt will continue. A better dialogue will hopefully lead them too out of the darkness into a greater light.

You, of course, may be a scholar that believes that the God of the Bible and Allah of the Koran are two different entities, and if this is so, it is obvious that you must be convinced of the unity of their being before more fruitful steps in the dialogue can be taken. Or believing that Allah is God, God is Allah, you may be one who believes that the Koran supersedes that which it intended to confirm. (A contract cannot dispute that which it clearly says it confirms; thus, any inconsistencies between the Koran and the Bible would need to be separate from the Biblical corpus of truth.)

You may subscribe to the idea that the Koran supersedes the Bible, making the Bible old and passed away, such as Paul argued with regard to the Old Testament in light of the New Testament. This too would be a stumbling block to a more fruitful conversation shedding the light anticipated by the prophets of the Bible. But if you agree that the Koran cannot contradict that which it confirms, then we can step further into the light and put down the Koran and devote our time to the understanding of the Messiah.

It may be, however, that you subscribe to the theory some imams have expressed, that the Messiah is no important character in the Bible, or, like Paul, believe that the Messiah is Jesus who will return in the clouds and carry all of the saved back up to heaven, destroying the world in the lurch.  This would lead to the necessity of examining all of the expressions of the prophets that relate to the Messiah and his times. We have gathered many of them together knowing the eventuality that the discussion will turn to them.

We recognize that this may be a delicate area for many to look into, since the character, including such names as the Branch or the Redeemer, expects to return to Zion and do those things listed of him. The reason he is called the "Redeemer" has to do with the redemption of Israel back to the Holy Land. Up until 1947 it was not possible for the "Redeemer" to exist, since Israel had not yet been redeemed to the Holy Land. But now they have been redeemed and we ought to spend a few moments looking at the epithets that describe what the Messiah is expected to do with regard to the disposition of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and its Holy Land. If you can follow my logic, the prophets declared (Isaiah 60) that everyone in that day is holy to the Lord and that the Holy Land shall be given a new name. That name is not Israel and not Palestine, though I perceive that those states could be federal departments of the whole. The whole is called "Beulah," meaning married to God; the idea being to note that Israelis and Palestinians share the land, they don't own it, like the Palestinians and Jews that live peacefully together in New York, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, etc. This, of course, is the argument the Messiah makes in the book of Isaiah.

Jewish midrash argues that the redemption of the Jews involves the redemption of all mankind. In other terms it has been expressed as a simple marriage ceremony (familiar to both Arabs and Jews), cast in the Latter Days, as in God's redemption of his wayward wife.

If you believe that the steps I have outlined are worthy of exploration, all of the way to their conclusion, I would enjoy pursuing this matter further with you.

Sincerely yours,

Mel Copeland

May 29, 2010

Mr. Abdula Manafi Mutualo
Secretary of the Islamophobia Observatory
and Culture and Social Affairs’ Officer
OIC General Secretariat

Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu
Organization of Islamic Conference

Dear Secretary-General,

I prepared a manifest that builds upon your agreement that the Koran was written to confirm the Jewish Scriptures (and also the Gospel). It includes quotes from you and the mission of Islam posted on the OIC website by Dr. Hassan Hathout (which we quoted in entirety under the chapter “A moderate view of Islam.”) Our document, “The Allah Controversy,” is at:

We believe that “The Allah Controversy” can be an important manifest used for reconciliation of the faiths, since the conclusion that God is Allah, that the Koran confirms the Jewish scriptures and Gospel (sic. The Bible), extends to the conclusion that there should really be no substantial difference between the three faiths. In our document we highlight the basic differences that promote conflict and a record of the conflict between Islam and the West. We believe as you and the OIC that education and understanding will defuse the violence. One cannot read into a reconciliation of the faiths only those things one believes; one must address the whole.

I would like to convene a more focused interfaith conference to discuss “The Allah Controversy” and would look forward to your support and input. For instance there can be a great reward to reconciliation once leaders and scholars agree that the Koran was written to confirm [in essence] the Bible. This leads to the conclusion that the Koran (like any other contract) cannot contradict that which it confirms. Nor can it supersede that which it confirms.

This being evident, then we can put down the Koran for a moment and explore precisely what the Old Testament prophets anticipated with regard to our present dilemma, of the conflict of faiths. Cutting through the chaff we can examine the prophets' vision as relating to the Messiah (The Koran calls Jesus the Messiah), his days, and the terms for the redemption of the Jews to the Holy Land. If you look at those terms
as I list in "The Allah Controversy" you should find them to be a sensible solution. While it may not seem appropriate to some, it may be the best chance for peace in Jerusalem and, through Jerusalem, a substantial peace in the world. There may always be tribal and national, economic and cultural differences in the world to disrupt peace, but at least we can remove the agreements that promote murder, theft and lying for God / Allah.

I look forward to your support and input.

Sincerely yours,

Mel Copeland

Professor Ihsanoglu's comments relative to the reconciliation of the faiths:

Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General Of The Organization Of The Islamic Conference (OIC), sent their Invitation to a New Partnership, to President Obama, January 21, 2009, that included the following comment: "...Many myths about Islam, fostered by extremists in both the West and East, have proliferated in the last decade, and a new word "Islamophobia” has even entered the world's lexicon to describe anti-Muslim acts of prejudice and violence. Despite these pernicious myths, you will find that Islam is a religion of peace. Tolerance is its benchmark and borne of the very nature of Islam. Nor is Islam an exclusive religion. It is an integral part of the history of world religions. It continues and confirms the previous scriptures. Along with Christianity and Judaism, Islam emanates from the same part of the world, comes from the same God, and holds to the same Prophets, mainly Abraham. It has been tested over fourteen hundred years, and shown itself to be a religion of compassion, mercy, justice, and equality. Extremists in any faith or tradition are rare, though they often command disproportionate attention. But the often overlooked truth is Islam is also the religion of moderation. It celebrates diversity and acknowledges and venerates a wide array of religions. Islam, in fact, abhors extremism and fanaticism and calls for treading the path of the “middle way” in favor of tolerance and reconciliation. It exhorts Muslims to be morally responsive to the truth and to goodness, and to be alert to all that is false, evil or destructive..."

Statement By Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu Secretary-General Of The Organization Of The Islamic Conference At The 15th Summit Of The Non-Aligned Movement Sharm El-Sheikh Arab Republic Of Egypt (15-16 July 2009) (extract)

OIC's attendance of this important Summit meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Sharm enriches its organisation which includes 57 Member States, 51 among whom are active members of this Movement. This fact by itself reflects the strong links which attach the Non-Aligned Movement to the OIC. Since their early inception, during the cold war, they have common goals and objectives: to put an end to colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, foreign occupation and exploitation. Their tireless endeavour in defending the rights of all peoples to self-determination and independence was a value target that succeeded in liberating scores of countries from the yoke of foreign hegemony.

...Today, the internal and external challenges facing our countries are daunting. Issues such as globalization, climate change, environmental degradation, access to clean drinking water, energy shortage, epidemics, regional conflicts, shortage of food supply as well as the issues of upholding human rights, good governance, combating international terrorism, the democratization of international financial institutions, are on top of the agenda of our time. The role of the Non-Aligned Movement in addressing these topics is decisive and crucial.

At a time when we aspire to a new world in which justice, freedom and equity prevail, we are regrettably faced in the Muslim world with inextricable and protracted problems. In the Middle East, the occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories, the construction of settlements and racial discrimination continue unabated, where Israel is committing with impunity war crimes recognized as such by the world community. We hope that we are living the closing stages of the occupation of Iraq with what that occupation entailed of wanton destruction, untold suffering and the killing of hundreds of thousand of victims. Afghanistan is going through extensive military assault, reaping the lives of scores of innocent civilians. Somalia is straying in the abyss of a never-ending civil war; Jammu and Kashmir is still in limbo, while the rights of its people to self-determination are denied. The situation in Darfur in the Sudan, in Nagorno-Karabakh and Muslim Minorities and Communities in non-OIC Member States is awaiting resolution. The OIC is contributing through contacts with concerned Governments to the acceptable resolution to the problems of these minorities which constitute one third of the number of Muslims worldwide and which suffer from similar problems and envision to achieve equality and to practice their legitimate rights.

The menace of terrorism and the baseless attempts to associate this scourge with Islam, the mounting phenomenon of Islamophobia and attempts to defame Islam and its holy Prophet, represent serious challenges to the Muslim world.

As for the Iran's nuclear issue, I would like to reiterate OIC's support to the inalienable rights of Iran and all Member States to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, in accordance with the Non-proliferation treaty. Consequently, we believe that Iran's nuclear issue should be settled through dialogue and peaceful means...

His Excellency prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu secretary general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference at the East West Institute on the OIC and the West working to resolve conflicts, statement September 22, 2009: (extract)

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference is an intergovernmental organisation established in 1969 in the wake of the deep anguish felt in the Muslim world over the burning of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969. The OIC is not a religious organisation. It is mandated to coordinate and streamline the common and joint actions of its 57 Member States. It is the second largest intergovernmental organisation after the United Nations and has a mission to defend the interests and just causes of its Member States. It is also the only official Muslim organisation that speaks on behalf of the Muslim world and the 1.5 billion Muslims

...In this age of globalisation, where boundaries are crashing down or melting away, it is ironic that Islam with its glorious civilization and tolerant values is often stereotyped as being an ideology of hate.

...I have always called for, and worked toward, reaching a historic reconciliation between Islam and Christendom. A similar experience took place last century and a historic reconciliation between Christianity and Judaism was achieved.

Today Muslims admire the great achievement of the West. I have always asserted that Muslim[s] in general harbour no ill feelings to the people of the West. On the contrary, they admire [the] Western success story and achievements in many domains. They highly appreciate many of the West's values and look for friendship and cooperation with the Westerners, to make of our fragile and small planet a heaven of prosperity and well being for all. When we agree that the enemy is not the other but rather the ignorance, the intolerance and fear, then we can say that there is a hope for historic breakthrough.

In reality, what unites the Islamic world and the West outweigh[s] what separate[s] them. They have a common spiritual and intellectual reference.. rooted in their revealed religions and similar culture. They are also united in their geographic proximity and complementary economics. The new rise of China and India in Asia should incite the West and the Muslim world to close ranks, enhance and sustain their commonalities and consolidate their relationship and reinforce their common interests.

What we, in the Muslim world aspire to, is evolving a more just, equitable and democratic global system, founded upon humane, universal, and moral values in this age of connectivity and permeability.

There is no doubt that conflicts in the Muslim world
domestic or international have their direct impact on the West and vice versa. Think about the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Look at the repercussion of the invasion of Iraq, and the tens[e] relationship with Iran. Confidence building between the USA and the Muslim world is the need of the hour. President Obama's Cairo speech has set the ball rolling. It is time for follow-up action.

...In the domain of conflict prevention or peace-building, we, in the OIC, do not think that resorting to military means is the most suitable way to reach success. At the peak of the period of Iraq's sectarian killing between the Sunni and Shiite sects, the OIC was able to successfully broker an end to this sectarian strife through mediation among the high religious authorities of the two factions. A meeting was convened in the holy city of Makkah Al Mukarramah in 2006, assembling Muslim high authorities and scholars from Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis to agree and announce the “Makkah Document on Iraq," a document which had been elaborated under the aegis of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy. The document clarifies the position of the Islamic teachings and jurisprudence vis-à-vis the killings in Iraq based on sectarian considerations. It clearly showed Islam's strong position in prohibiting killing of Muslims outside the realm of law. This document which had very wide circulation in all Mosques of the two sides in Iraq resulted in a resounding success and was effective in drastically reducing the sectarian strife in Iraq. This result was an important factor in countering the brutal activities of the insurgency in Iraq through local means.

This method, for example, could be used tomorrow in Somalia...To build the trust, we need to find a just solution to the tragedy of Palestine which continues to stalk the Muslim world for more than sixty years. We also need to stop the manifestation of Islamophobia in the West and treating Muslims and their sacred symbols with contempt...

Statement of H.E. Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu Secretary General Organization of the Islamic Conference At the Muslims of Europe Conference 2006 Challenges and Opportunities. (extract)

For many societies in the West the presence of Muslim immigrants is a relatively new phenomenon. Fear of the “other” and intolerance, according to sociologists, is a very natural inclination, and constitutes an intrinsic attribute of human behavior. Tolerance, therefore, must be earned by necessity, reason and intelligence, because it is a requirement for social life, and because people are not necessarily prone to prejudice. However, intolerance cannot justify domination or the deliberate use of fear of the “other” for political purposes.

Integration is needed, immigrants must adjust to their new societies, and societies must adjust too. This human relationship should be a two-way street to become sustainable. Both sides should understand each other's expectations and responsibilities, and work to demystify the notion of the “other” through contacts and education. All the above is needed, but it is easier said than done. To be able to forge headway to any tangible action, one should look for the root causes which nurture what is commonly called Islamophobia.

Islamophobia is a deeply rooted phenomenon in the psyche of some Westerners since many centuries, based mainly on outdated religious considerations against Islam. Many of these fanatic views are, unfortunately, still lingering in the minds of many.

As for today, known global political and socioeconomic developments, presence or hot-spots of problems mainly prevalent in the Muslim world and stemming from the Cold War period, remnants of the colonialism, onslaught of refugees from the Muslim world to the West and unmanaged transformation of the fabric of the western societies and failure of a number of Muslim countries to adapt to the modernization process to create prosperous and developed societies, brought us to a point where we face [a] multitude of challenges with implications on both the Western societies and the Muslim world...

...In considering this alienation context, one should also not neglect the historical experience and sufferings of Muslims during the eras of colonialism. New Muslim resentments are still being fuelled daily by the scenes of sufferings of Muslims in the hot-bed areas of conflicts created by the Western powers especially in the Middle East. It would be naïve to think that European Muslims can be and should be mentally isolated from [the] overall context of the Muslim World. Due to the peculiarities of the teachings of Islam, they will always feel the suffering of other Muslims in their hearts even though they are devoted citizens of Western countries.

Reactions to the humiliating conditions in the Muslim world can sometimes be brutal and visceral by radical fringe elements who pretend that they act in the name of Islam. Often these reactions are mistaken in the West for an Islamic hatred against Western values, sparking an anti-Islamic backlash
a fact which leads us to a vicious circle. Islam does not condone extremism and terrorism and it is a well-known fact that every single Muslim country and their religious leaders have always condemned and will continue to condemn the extremist and terrorist acts committed on behalf of Islam. The very Islamic teachings preach moderation and peace. Therefore, the Western politicians and media should be careful not to incite hatred towards Muslims and their religion which they often do on utterly wrong and deviated supposition.

...We have also already made great efforts and offered initiatives to pave the way for a historical reconciliation based on the realties of the time, openness and tolerance. Chief among these efforts being the dialogue among civilizations advocated in the last decade by the OIC as an alternative for the clash of civilizations proposed by some Western thinkers....

Palestinians, Syria's President Assad, et al. require that Israel withdraw back to the 1967 border. What is the true border of Palestine?

"Partition map of the land of Canaan," Lyon 1568, from the Yaakov Aviel Collection, 1981.
The Holy Land has been at the crossroads and in the possession of empires for the past 4,000 years, including the Hittites, Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, Persians, Scythians, Romans, Arabs (Umayyad and later Abbasid Caliphates) and Ottoman's. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire the area, including Jordan, became a British mandate territory. Over the epochs of conquests and "colonization," maps or geographies appeared that spoke of a region called Palestine.

Map makers, ancient and modern, like to copy previous maps. The "Partition map of the land of Canaan" (1568) contains the features of the Pietro Visconete (14th century) map of the Holy Land. At that time Palestine was essentially today's Gaza, stretching from Ascalon south.

The region known as Terrae Sanctae (Holy Land):

Map makers since Claudius Ptolemaeus (87-178 C.E.) have copied his maps. A Ptolemaic map from the Yaakov Aviel collection gives the foundation describing the region: "Qvarta Asiae Tabvla (In "Clavdii Ptholemaei Alexandrini Liber Geographiae Cvnm Tabvlis..Venetiis, per lacobum Pentium de leucho, 1511). His map lists from north to south, Samaria, Judae
Roman-Byzantine Codex Notitia Dignitarum, (~400 A.D.) from Yaakov Aviel Collection. Duchies / castles of the Holy Land. Aelia, bottom right, is Jerusalem Roman-Byzantine Codex Notitia Dignitarum, (~400 A.D.) from Yaakov Aviel Collection. The date shown for Provincia Palestina is 1536.
a and Palestina. In 1530 Michel Servetius, Lyons, produced a copy of the map showing the same region as Samaria, Judaea and Palestina. Other maps showing the tribes of Israel (often as Biblical illustrations) describe the region as Terrae Sanctae and sometimes Palestina.

Of all the maps of Terrae Sanctae, Judaea, Samaria and Palestina none are more telling of the geographic view of the region than the Roman-Byzantine Codex Notitia Dignitarum's (Dignatatum) illustrations describing the region of Terrae Sanctae as Palestina.

Using the Roman maps as our point of departure to examine the geographic context of the Holy Land can be most useful. The map of Duchies of Palestina is similar to Roman maps of their fortresses in Britain. The illustrations of the Roman-Byzantine Codex recall general geographic descriptions, such as Virgil's references to the Troad (region of Troy) in the Aeneid (19 B.C) as Phrygia. Virgil referred to western Asia Minor
and the Trojan source of Rome's ancestors as Phrygia, with its eastern border the Halys River. While that area was composed of separate nations, such as Bithynia, Mysia, Lydia and Phrygia and the Troad, Phrygia was used as a term for the region. In like manner we suspect the Romans may have referred to Palestina as the region of Judaea, Samaria and Palestina.

The Roman-Byzantine Codex refers to the "Province Palestina." The region at the time of the Roman Procurator Pontus Pilate (26-36 CE) was the Roman Province of Judaea which was the "stage
of three major rebellions (see Jewish-Roman wars), including the Great Jewish Revolt (66-70 CE) the Kitos War (115-117 CE), and Bar Kokhba's revolt (132-135 CE), after which Hadrian changed the name of the province to Syria Palaestina and Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina in an attempt to erase the historical ties of the Jewish people to the region." []

The ethnic cleansing of the land of the Jews under the Roman Emperor Hadrian and later the Roman Emperor Trajan, by his general Marcius Turbo, and changing the name to Syria Palaestina no doubt became the foundation for the British Mandate of Palestine, comprising Transjordan, and Palestine. It was also a foundation for the mass expulsion of the Jews (diaspora) and two-thousand years of persecution:

"The complete destruction of Jerusalem, and the settlement of several Greek and Roman colonies in Judea indicated the express intention of the Roman government to prevent the political regeneration of the Jewish nation. Nevertheless, forty years later the Jews put forth efforts to recover their former freedom. With Israel exhausted, they strove to establish commonwealths on the ruins of Hellenism in Cyrene, Cyprus, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. These efforts, resolute but unwise, were suppressed by Trajan (115-117), and under Hadrian the same fate befell the attempt of the Jews of Israel to regain their independence (133-135). From this time on, in spite of unimportant movements under Antoninus, Marcus Aurelius, and Severus, the Jews of Palestine, reduced in numbers, destitute, and crushed, lost their preponderance in the Jewish world. Jerusalem had become, under the name "Ælia Capitolina", a Roman colony and entirely pagan city. Jews were forbidden entrance on pain of death, except for the day of Tisha B'Av, see also Anti-Judaism in the Roman Empire. Nevertheless, 43 Jewish communities in Israel remained in the sixth century: 12 on the coast, in the Negev, and east of the Jordan, and 31 villages in Galilee and in the Jordan valley. Yavne on the coastal plane, associated with Yochanan ben Zakai, was an important center of Rabbinic Judaism." []

Thus, since the time of Hadrian the area has been known as Palestine. This area was most recently part of the Ottoman Empire, Eyalet (province) of Egypt, established in 1517, consisting of Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Other divisions of the Ottoman Empire included sanjaks, such as the Sanjak of Jerusalem. Some sanjaks were further divided into timars (fiefs held by timariots) and zeamets. Some sanjaks such as the Mutasarrifate (Sanjak) of Jerusalem, were not part of a province. Sanjak governors also served as military commanders of all of the timariot and zeamet-holding cavalrymen in their sanjak. Some provinces such as Egypt, Baghdad, Abyssinia, and Al-Hasa (the salyane provinces) were not subdivided into sanjaks and timars ( During the Ottoman Empire an area called "Palestine" did not exist on official maps, though Christian maps showing the lands of the Bible, such as the "Partition map of the land of Canaan," show the Gaza Strip with the name of Palestine. The website shows several maps of the area, including Ottoman districts of the Eyalat of "Egypt" as: District of Beirut, District of Acre, District of Nablus, District of Jerusalem (approximately the old territory of Judaea / Israel) and District of ma'an (1517-1917). It shows the population mix in 1914 as follows: Jews 60,000; Arabs 731,000; Total: 791,000. In 2005 the population mix is about equal: 5.275 million Jews to 5.139 million Arabs.

Before the Roman conquest the area was part of Alexander the Great's Selucid Empire, (305 B.C. - 63 B.C), but Gaza was part of Alexander's Ptolemaic Empire. During Roman times the area was the province of Judaea. Jordan was part of the Roman province of Arabia Petraea. Sinai was part of the province of Aegyptus. North of Judaea was the province of Syria, including Lebanon. The British Mandate of Palestine thus appears to be the first appearance of Palestine on an official map, since the beginning of the Ottoman Empire.

The earliest historic accounts of the Palestinians are in the Bible, including King David's wars with the Philistines (Palestinians, Pulusti) about 1,000 B.C. The Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II (1279 - 1213 B.C.) mentioned the Pulusti among the invading Sea Peoples during his era. Archeological accounts show that the Philistines are culturally related to the Greeks and probably came from Crete. The traditional exodus from Egypt of the Israelites may have been at this time.

Tracing through the centuries to reconstruct the traditional states of the Israelis and Palestinians can be trying upon the hardiest souls. No doubt the map created by the United Nations at the time that august body created the state of Israel (UN Resolution 181 November 29, 1947) attempted to reconcile some of the traditional, geographic requirements, as the British Mandate territory before it.

The United Nations took it upon itself to restore the state of Israel, just as it enabled the states around the Holy Land, such as Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Transjordan and Egypt. Palestine was a new creation by the United Nations — as a distinct new state — as it began reconstructing the territories of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Transjordan from the old French and British Mandate territories. UN Resolution 181 of 1947 details the partition of the British-ruled Palestine Mandate (consisting of Palestine and Transjordan) into a Jewish state and an Arab, Palestinian state. The British Mandate of Palestine appears to be the first recognition of Palestine as a geographic area, and that is probably because Palestinians live within that area (Transjordan, the West Bank, Gaza and Israel). Because of the distribution of Palestinians throughout the British Mandate of Palestine it is understandable how that mandate came to be given the name of Palestine.

Palestinian leaders argue that they want their land (state) back. If we use the British Mandate territory as their land, we would of necessity have to change the name of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to "Palestine." (It's probably not something the Jordanians would embrace, though about 1.5 million of their inhabitants are Palestinian exiles.) No doubt the United Nations realized this, separating Transjordan from their projected map of Israel and "Palestine."

Hamas, of course, wants all of the Jews driven into the sea so that they (the Palestinians) can have their land back. But that does not seem to be fair to the Jews who have counted the land as their inheritance given to Abraham about 1,900 B.C. The Bible records that inheritance, the Koran confirms the Bible and, thus, their claim to possess the land of their forefathers is indirectly endorsed by the Koran. What is important to note is the fact that the United Nations Resolution 181 of 1947 also recognized that covenant given to the Jews through Abraham.

A Hamas spokesman told journalist Charlie Rose, published on PBS May 28, 2010, that their faction of the Palestinians wanted to restore the 1967 borders (before the Six-day War) — also expressed by President Assad in an earlier interview with Charlie Rose. It seems that this criteria recognizes the territories laid out by UN Resolution 181 of 1947, except that the Corpus Separatum of Jerusalem administered by the United Nations is not part of that restored territory. Hamas seems to really be saying that they want all of the land. What is relevant here is that Transjordan and the Arabs / Palestinians rejected United Nations Resolution 181, sealing their refusal with their invasion of the West Bank and the Corpus Separatum of Jerusalem. This 1948 Arab-Israeli War led to more wars between Israel and the Arabs, culminating in the 1967 Six-day war.

The conflict between the Arab states and Israel continues. The Palestinian struggle of "resistance" has moved the entire land into chaos. When I was in Israel in 1985 there was a working relationship between Israelis and Palestinians; there was no fence, but Palestinians had just begun setting bombs in public places (a bomb was placed in a restaurant off of Zion Square at the time). Rather than exercising violence, they could have signed off on UN Resolution 181 and worked towards a unification / cooperation of the two territories of the Jews and "Arabs," just as they work together in other places, such as Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, New York or San Francisco.

Interestingly enough, the Declaration of Independence of Israel guarantees the protection of rights, of the Palestinians, Israelis or other inhabitants of the land, such as:

WE APPEAL in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

WE EXTEND our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.

WE APPEAL to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-Israel in the tasks of immigration and upbuilding and to stand by them in the great struggle for the realization of the age-old dream the redemption of Israel.

This is not just about the redemption of Israel.

Confusing the possibility of reconciliation

Recently Turkey's government sponsored a "humanitarian flotilla" to provide aid to Gaza.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his government had been in touch with Israel about the aid convoy.(Maravot News 5.31.10 article 05.25.10 Turkey to Israel: Lift blockade of Gaza ) As of June 1, 2010 there is confusion as to what caused the convoy containing about 700 people to ignore Israeli commands to put into the port of Ashdod where the ship's cargo could be inspected for weapons and transferred directly to Gaza under the humanitarian group's supervision. Refusal to obey Israeli instructions resulted in death and injury to both commandos and the ship's passengers. Since the Turkish flotilla assault other flotillas have been scheduled, from Lebanon and Iran, all of which have been cancelled, presumably because of Israel's letter to the UN that such attempts would be considered an act of war. Gaza is now at the center of Islamic protests, having drawn support from both Muslim extremists and non-Muslim forces. Opposing their interests for an independent (and presumably armed) Palestinian state are Israel and conservative Western forces. Such opposition often addresses the violent and suppresive expressions in Islam, including the suppression of women's rights, marriage of women at the age of nine, punishing women who are raped, rather than the rapist, etc. Among many movements in the West - of restricting symbols of Islam, such as minarets on mosques or the use of burqas groups have sprung up to protest the free worship of Islam in the West altogether, since it advocates the overthrow of Western institutions. A site banned by the government of Pakistan for anti-Islam content is We have summarized the complaint of in Appendix B.

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