Monday, September 19, 2005

The Meaning Behind the Name "Arafat"?

The journey to Mecca, called the Hajj, is one of the pillars of Islam. Thus, it is a sacred journey, filled with signifigance. The Hajj demands "purity of soul, body, mind, and dress." Apparently, it is also a spiritual journey with room for hatred of Americans and Jews.

Should that surprise us?:

Amer Abbas, 45, came from war-ravaged Iraq to find serenity in the spiritual journey.

“I beg God to make the Americans leave our country and put an end to the occupation.
The Americans are responsable for all the destruction that has hit out country,” said Abbas, who is from “Diyala, in the Sunni Triangle which resists the occupation.”

Yeah, it's the Americans, not Hussein. Not the Iraqi's themselves. Right.

Somehow, the people of Iraq, unique among all the peoples of the Earth, themselves have no responsibility for their position in the world. And somehow the evil Americans control all. Think about it, Amer. What does that say about your people?

And then, we've got Ahmed:

Ahmed AbdelKarim, an Egyptian building painter based in Saudi Arabia, was performing the hajj for the eleventh time. But lacking the Saudi approval necessary to carry out the pilgrimage, the 37-year-old had no place in the camps and spent the day in a tiny tent on the pavement.“I want to pray that God rids Palestine of the Jews,” AbdelKarim said.

Now, I find this an interesting quote, because the title of the AFP article from which this quote is lifted is "Two million Muslims stand on Mount Arafat in hajj climax."

While it is notable that such a sentiment would be expressed on a mountain called Arafat, that is not actually why I find this a particularly interesting quote. The truly intereting thing about the quote is what it reveals about Arafat, his goals, and who he must have thought he was to his people.

Apparently, Mt. Arafat overlooks Mecca, which is the destination of the spritual journey of the Hajj. Does that sound familiar?

At the end of Moses' life, God took him to the top of Mount Nebo, so that he could look down on the Promised Land just before he died.

So too, the Muslims climb to the top of Mt. Arafat, just before they descend to the final destination of their Hajj Pilgrimage; Mecca.

Yasser Arafat's given name was not Arafat, it was al-Huesseini. The name al-Husseini was also the surname of Arafat's mentor Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem during the period of the 1930's and 1940's. The Grand Mufti worked with Hitler to insure that as many Jews as possible be put to death. Here is a photo of the Mufti with Hitler.

So, Yasser Arafat adopted the name Arafat at a later date. We are left to assume that the name Arafat meant something to him, if he was willing to abandon the name of his mentor to assume the new name of Arafat.

I'm guessing he thought of himself as a kind of Moses, leading his people to the promised land.

It is interesting to note that, in his mind, the final piece to the puzzle which must be completed before his people were able to reach the spiritual Mecca, was the removal of the Jews from the land of Palestine.