Not on only did the Beersheba municipality state that an active mosque in a Jewish city is a threat to its security, but the mayor even referred to Muslim prayers as “incitement”.
Here’s a report from theÂ International Middle East Media Center:
Mosque in Beersheba to Remain an Islamic Museum
The Beersheba Municipality has rejected a petition by the Bedouin Muslims of the Negev to pray in the old mosque of Beersheba.
The Baseiso mosque was built in 1906 by the Ottoman Empire and served as a mosque until 1950. At that time, the Israelis decided to convert the mosque into a Museum for Islamic and Israeli culture.
The High Court of Justice rejected a petition by the Negev’s Muslim Committee and the Bedouin Rights Protection Foundation to convert the museum into a mosque for local Muslims to use it for prayer.
The Municipality stated that, “an active mosque in the heart of a Jewish city is unthinkable.” They also claimed that converting the museum back into a mosque for public prayer would threaten the city’s security.
Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danilovich stated that, “the city views Muslim prayer as an element of incitement.”
There remains no active center for the five thousand Muslims remaining in Beersheba, which compels them to pray on the street, in other public places, or not at all.
Since 1948, the population of Beersheba is mostly Jewish with no significant Arab population.
Now — what about those prayers? In the course of praying the requisite five prayers a day, an observant Muslim will recite the Fatihah, the first surah of the Qur’an and the most common prayer in Islam, seventeen times. The final two verses of the Fatihah ask Allah: “Show us the straight path, the path of those whom Thou hast favoured; not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.” The traditional Islamic understanding of this is that the “straight path” is Islam — cf. Islamic apologist John Esposito’s book Islam: The Straight Path. The path of those who have earned Allah’s anger are the Jews, and those who have gone astray are the Christians.
This is not my interpretation; it comes from the classic Islamic commentaries on the Qur’an. The renowned Qur’anic commentatorÂ Ibn Kathir explains that “the two paths He described here are both misguided,” and that those “two paths are the paths of the Christians and Jews, a fact that the believer should beware of so that he avoids them. The path of the believers is knowledge of the truth and abiding by it. In comparison, the Jews abandoned practicing the religion, while the Christians lost the true knowledge. This is why ‘anger’ descended upon the Jews, while being described as ‘led astray’ is more appropriate of the Christians.”
Ibn Kathir’s understanding of this passage is not a lone “extremist” interpretation. In fact, most Muslim commentators believe that the Jews are those who have earned Allah’s wrath and the Christians are those who have gone astray. This is the view of Tabari, Zamakhshari, theÂ Tafsir al-Jalalayn, theÂ Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas, and Ibn Arabi, as well as Ibn Kathir. One contrasting, but not majority view, is that of Nisaburi, who says that “those who have incurred Allah’s wrath are the people of negligence, and those who have gone astray are the people of immoderation.”
Wahhabis drew criticism a few years back for adding “such as the Jews” and “such as the Christians” into parenthetical glosses on this passage in Qur’ans printed in Saudi Arabia. Some Western commentators imagined that the Saudis originated this interpretation, and indeed the whole idea of Qur’anic hostility toward Jews and Christians. They found it inconceivable that Muslims all over the world would learn as a matter of course that the central prayer of their faith anathematizes Jews and Christians.
But unfortunately, this interpretation is venerable and mainstream in Islamic theology. The printing of the interpretation in parenthetical glosses into a translation would be unlikely to affect Muslim attitudes, since the Arabic text is always and everywhere normative in any case, and since so many mainstream commentaries contain the idea that the Jews and Christians are being criticized here. Seventeen times a day, by the pious.
The Hadith also contains material linking Jews to Allah’s anger and Christians to his curse, which resulting from their straying from the true path. (The Jews are accursed also, according to Qur’anÂ 2:89, and both are accursed according toÂ 9:30).Â One hadith recounts that an early Muslim, Zaid bin ‘Amr bin Nufail, in his travels met with Jewish and Christian scholars. The Jewish scholar told him, “You will not embrace our religion unless you receive your share of Allah’s Anger,” and the Christian said, “You will not embrace our religion unless you get a share of Allah’s Curse.” Zaid, needless to say, became a Muslim.