(April 5, 2022 / JNS) The Jewish people should be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, according to Arab social-media activist Loay Alshareef.
Speaking to Ellie Cohanim on this week’s “Global Perspectives,” he explained that Islam’s holiest sites are not in Israel at all and that contrary to how he was educated growing up in the United Arab Emirates, the Prophet Muhammad died before the Dome of the Rock was ever built.
In contrast, he said it is undisputed that the Al-Aksa Mosque is built on the exact location of Solomon’s Temple.
“I’m not saying let’s demolish the Dome of the Rock and let’s build the Third Temple,” he continued. “I’m saying that we have to come to our senses and recognize facts as they are. This is a holy site to the Jewish people. So, at least they have the right to go and pray there.”
Alshareef said that Muslims believe in the Jewish prophets but somehow diconnect them from the people of Israel.
Children growing up in the Arab world in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s were fed a simple narrative: “Jews are evil, Jews have fangs, Jews are evil creatures conspiring with their Christian counterparts to take over the world,” according to social-media activist Loay Alshareef.
He said that he once believed this way, too. Until he spent time living with a Jewish family in France.
“I really changed a lot,” said Alshareef. “I learned a lot about Israel and the history of the Jewish people.”
Alshareef made his remarks around the time of the historic Negev Summit, which took place last month in Sde Boker, in Israel’s south.
The Negev Summit brought together foreign ministers from Israel, Egypt, Morocco, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, as well as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
According to Alshareef, the summit put the Abraham Accords in action. He said that slowly he is starting to see change on social media reflecting these new relationships.
“I am very optimistic,” he said. “I see the change happening on social media slowly. But it takes the will of the leaders to say let’s put the facts as they are, let’s change people’s perspective to the truth. If leaders step in, I believe it would take a shorter time.”
But he said the truth is coming out either way.
“What motivates me is the hope that I want to see in the next generation to stop this kind of violence and build a better future for all of us,” he said. “I am going to coexist with my Jewish and Christain friends. Even if we all have differences, we will thrive together. I always say, we want Abraham to look down at his children and say, ‘thank you for working together.’ ”
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About “Global Perspectives with Ellie Cohanim”:
“Global Perspectives” is Jewish News Syndicate’s newest production. Join former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. Department of State Ellie Cohanim, as she hosts some of the most important geopolitical conversations taking place in the Jewish world today. Cohanim, a sought-after speaker in her own right, interviews heads of state, policymakers, thought leaders and activists, in frank and open discussions.
These conversations provide key insights into critical and time-sensitive issues, including the Iranian nuclear threat, the rise of violent anti-Semitism, anti-Zionist activities, Christian and Muslim support for Israel, and the historic Abraham Accords.
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