Effects of Fighting in the Middle East Felt in the U.S.

October 3, 2000

Source: The Courier-Journal

On October 3, 2000, The Courier-Journal (Kentucky) reported on "a few acres of flat, elevated turf in Jerusalem's old city, revered by Jews as the site of their ancient temple and by Muslims as the scene of a miraculous visit by the prophet Mohammed." It reported that "Louisville-area Jews and Muslims alike say they were not surprised that right-wing Israeli politician Ariel Sharon triggered violence just by showing up there. Five days of fighting have followed Sharon's visit last Thursday on the site that Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary and Jews the Temple Mount. Locally, both Jews and Muslims yesterday denounced Sharon's move as having shattered a delicate religious balance and aggravated people's frustration with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. 'It's a very volatile issue, because it takes people to the core of their religious beliefs,' said Riffat Hassan, a Muslim and professor of religious studies at the University of Louisville. 'When it gets to that point, they are willing to die for their beliefs - and they are dying.' Rabbi Stanley Miles of Temple Shalom in Louisville called Sharon's visit 'tragic...it was insensitive, it was wrong,' he said. 'But Mr. Sharon represents one stream of thought in Israel and not the majority who want peace.'"