Jerusalem’s sacredness is interconnected with its worldliness as it is the home of Palestinians, both Muslim and Christian, and others. However, what has been challenging in recent decades is the lack of empathy and understanding on the part of some who advocate for an exclusive, ethnically based control of the city, as evidenced by Israel’s policy to Judaize the city and negatively impact the lives and livelihood of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and beyond. The challenge has also come from Israel’s supporters in the United States and elsewhere. A prime example is U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Such actions not only ignore the history, laws, and complexity of the facts on the ground, but also disrupt the very character and future peace of the city.
Thus, the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) is publishing a book titled What Jerusalem Means to Us: Muslim Perspectives and Reflections that consists of 12 important essays that address different aspects of the strong bond that ties Islam and Muslims with Jerusalem. It complements well the successful What Jerusalem Means to Us: Christian Perspectives and Reflections, which was published in 2018, also by HCEF. The book is published in partnership with the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies (RIIFS) in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which is under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal. In his Foreword, he expresses endorsement of the book’s underlying vision and insights.
About the Book
Jerusalem is significant in Islam and to Muslims, as it is to the other two monotheistic faith traditions of Judaism and Christianity and their followers. What Jerusalem Means to Us: Muslim Perspectives and Reflections argues for the need to highlight the intimate and unique connections between Islam and Jerusalem along different dimensions – religious, theological, cultural, historical, architectural, artistic, political, psychological, and social. These dimensions will be best expressed through the perspectives and reflections of Muslims whose native city is Jerusalem, or who have experienced Jerusalem while visiting or residing there temporarily, or who have thought about Jerusalem from afar.
What Jerusalem Means to Us: Muslim Perspectives and Reflections is a special collection of 12 heartfelt essays by Palestinian Muslims sharing their intimate experiences in and reflections on the Holy City. What comes alive in What Jerusalem Means to Us is that the Holy City belongs to humanity in general – to all those who seek, strive for, and pursue a higher calling in its hallowed ground; and it should remain as such for eternity. Muslims of all backgrounds, and others, are urged to advocate for preserving Jerusalem’s Status Quo and for maintaining it as the inclusive center of faith.
Dr. Saliba Sarsar
Chair, HCEF Research & Publication Committee and
Professor of Political Science, Monmouth University
Dr. Carole Monica C. Burnett
Co-Chair, HCEF Research & Publication Committee and
Editor of the Church and Fathers of the Church Mediaeval Continuation,
The Catholic University of America Press