Saturday, April 17, 2010

Threat to tomb of Ezekiel reported in press

The Jewish Chronicle is the first Western newspaper to report on the current international campaign (including the collection of signatures for this petition) to save the Jewish identity of the ancient shrine of the prophet Ezekiel. Anshel Pfeffer writes (no link available):

An international campaign is being organised to save an ancient monument in Iraq believed to be the grave of the prophet Ezekiel. The local Shia religious authority is planning to convert the site into a mosque.

For centuries the Jews of Iraq made pilgrimage to the grave of Ezekiel at Al-Kifl, 130 km south of Baghdad. In recent decades, since the great majority of Jews left the country in the 1950s, the site has been almost deserted.

In recent months, there have been reports on a plan by the Shia Waqf to build a mosque at thre monument, as the prophet Ezekiel is mentioned in the Koran as an Islamic prophet.
Professor Shmuel Moreh of Jerusalem was born in Baghdad and has recently been writing a series of childhood memoirs on an Arabic website.

"Many Iraqis who read my memoirs have been contacting me to share their memories of life alongside the Jews. They told me also about the plans to convert Ezekiel's tomb into a mosque and we have been trying to mobilise public opinion against it."

The campaign received a boost a few days ago when Ayatollah Sheikh Ayada al-Rikabi, a leading Shia cleric, published a letter calling upon the Waqf not to change the Jewish identity of the site.

Ayatollah clams islamicisation of Ezekiel's shrine

Interview (Jan 2010) with Maurice Shohet about the removal of Hebrew inscriptions (with thanks: Aida; Niran)

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