The Jerusalem Post reports that a 1945 article from its archives indicates that the site over which the Simon Wiesenthal Center is seeking to build its Museum of Tolerance was slated to become an Islamic commercial and administrative center.

The report states, “An area of over 450 dunams in the heart of Jerusalem, now forming the Mamilla Cemetery, is to be converted into a business centre.

“The town-plan is being completed under the supervision of the Supreme Moslem Council in conjunction with the Government Town Planning Adviser,” the article continues.

“A six-storeyed building to house the Supreme Moslem Council and other offices, a four-storeyed hotel, a bank and other buildings suitable for it, a college, a club and a factory are to be the main structures. There will also be a park to be called the Salah ed Din Park, after the Moslem warrior of Crusader times.”

The 1945 article also describes plans by the council to transfer remains buried in the cemetery to a separate, “walled reserve” and cites rulings from prominent Muslim clerics at the time allowing for the building plans to progress.

“In an interview with Al-Wih-da, the Jerusalem weekly,” the Palestine Post article continues, “a member of the Supreme Moslem Council stated that the use of Moslem cemeteries in the public interest had many precedents both in Palestine and elsewhere.

“The member added that the Supreme Moslem Council intended to publish a statement containing dispensations by Egyptian, Hijazi and Demascene clerics sanctioning the building programme. He pointed out that the work would be carried out in stages and by public tender. Several companies had already been formed in anticipation, and funds were plentiful.”

I have to admit that I don’t care much for this project and don’t understand its necessity since it’s just going to suck up funds that could be used for other needs, but there is little doubt that this information absolves Marvin Hier and the Wiesenthal Center from many of the accusations hurled against them for disrespecting a Muslim cemetery adjacent to their building site.

Much of the criticism has come from Muslim groups and, of course, their Leftist counterparts around the globe. The accusations have been vicious and, I’m sure, hurtful to a man like Hier who has made his life’s work an attempt to educate people about intolerance of others. At this point, it is hard to consider the criticism anything but contemptible and hypocritical when coming from knowledgeable sources, particularly Muslim ones.

Some apologies are due.

About the author