Museum of Tolerance to be Built on Top of Muslim Cemetery

March 7, 2007

Author: Abdussalam Mohamed

Source: Southern California In Focus

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center has raised at least $200 millions, mainly from American donors, to build a Museum of Tolerance on the Ma’am Allah cemetery, a site believed to contain the remains of dozens of companions of Prophet Muhammad as well as thousands of Jerusalemite Muslims.

On May 3, 2004, governor Arnold Schwarzenegger laid the foundation stone in a ceremony attended by Israeli officials, including then Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and U.S. ambassador Daniel Kurtzer. In a press release, Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said, "It (the museum) is about imparting the lessons of mutual respect and social responsibility and the need for unity and solidarity among Jews themselves, as well as between Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors."

The center’s move has drawn outrage from Muslims and non-Muslims alike who say that the museum is rejecting the very ideals it stands for.

"It’s simply hypocritical and laughable," said Durgham Seif, a Jerusalem lawyer who heads Karamah organization, which is taking the lead in the legal battle to protect the cemetery. "It’s an example of American Jewish leaders preaching compassion and tolerance and doing exactly the opposite."