Iraq wants to turn ancient Jewish tomb into mosque - Israel Jewish Scene, Ynetnews
 
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Iraq (archives) Photo: Reuters
Iraq (archives) Photo: Reuters
 
 

Iraq wants to turn ancient Jewish tomb into mosque

Israeli professor informed Iraqi authorities engaged in erasing Jewish characteristics off Prophet Ezekiel's tomb located south of Baghdad

Smadar Peri
Published: 01.18.10, 15:04 / Israel Jewish Scene

Some 2,500 years ago the prophet Ezekiel presented his Prophecy of Dry Bones, which according to various interpretations hailed the salvation of the Jewish people. According to recent reports, Iraq is currently trying to remove the Jewish traces from the prophet's tomb and turn it into a mosque.

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Ezekiel the Prophet, whose prophesy was recorded in the Book of Ezekiel, lived in Babylon at the time of Solomon's temple. Tradition has it that he is buried in the village of Al Kilf, south of Baghdad, and followers of the three monotheistic religions continue to visit his tomb to this day.

 

"I received information from a senior Iraqi scholar pertaining to the local authorities' intention of turning the tomb into a mosque under the guise of 'preservation' of the holy site," says Professor Shmuel Morre, former head of the Arabic Language and Literature Department in the Hebrew University.

 

"The man who provided me with the information stressed that the Iraqi antiquities department has been under heavy pressure to erase any proof of the Jews' connection to Iraq," he notes.

 

Iraq also contains the tombs of the Ezra the Scribe, the Prophet Jonah and King Zedekiah. According to Prof. Morre, who himself was born in Iraq, his colleague informed him that local authorities have already began erasing Hebrew inscriptions off Ezekiel's tomb in order to turn the site into a mosque.

 

'Stop Islamization'

For hundreds of years the tomb has been under the care of leaders of the Jewish community in Iraq.

 

Currently the country contains only eight Jews. The rest have become Muslim or are in hiding for fear of being murdered by terrorists upon embarking on a Jewish pilgrimage.

 

Manager of the "Justice for Jews" organization Shlomo Alfassa has approached US government authorities in Washington following the reports and demanded to "stop the Islamization of the Jewish prophet's tomb."

 

An application has also been made to the UNESCO headquarters, which is responsible for maintaining the religious character of holy sites.

 

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