Columnist In University Of Manitoba Student Newspaper Claims Zionism Attempts To Lay Claim To “Ancient Islamic Sites”

In her January 31 opinion column in The Manitoban, a student newspaper at the University of Manitoba entitled: “Zionism, Hindutva and the fascist brotherhood,” Lakshmisree Shaji seeks to draw a parallel between Zionism and Hindutva, which she described as “an extremist Hindu-supremacist ideology which promotes creating a single Hindu identity,” and whose advocates, she says, “strive for a Hindu ethnostate.”

While Shaji seeks to draw from her own experience as a recent immigrant from India, and whatever her views on domestic Indian politics may be, her attempts to compare with Zionism fall flat.

Zionism is the Jewish People’s movement of self-determination in their historic and ancestral homeland, which some have described as a national liberation movement.

Shaji does not divulge that it is Hamas, the Gaza-based Islamic terrorist organization currently at war with Israel, which promises to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic theocratic state. Yet it is Israel, home to more than two million non-Jews who enjoy full and equal rights as citizens, which is castigated.

Since moving to Canada, Shaji noted with a hint of surprise the degree of “booming popularity for Zionism” amongst Canadian Jewry, but she should not be surprised; Jews have lived in Israel for three thousand years, despite multiple attempts to destroy or otherwise expel the Jewish population there.

Throughout her column, Shaji attempted to delegitimize Israel’s claims to its land, writing that Zionists (and their Indian counterparts, she asserts) are “always finding shaky

evidence’ to support their claims that ancient Islamic sites” are theirs.

This could not be more absurd. The Jewish People’s connections to the land of Israel are not in dispute by any serious observer. Evidence stretching back millennia, from archaeology to literary proof, is so widespread and ubiquitous that only the most fanatical ideologues could pretend otherwise.

It is unclear what specific “ancient Islamic sites” Shaji is referring to, but there is no shortage of those who attempt to erase three thousand years of Jewish history in an attempt to promote the Palestinian cause, and these are hardly fringe voices.

Senior leaders in the Palestinian Authority (PA) have claimed so, and Palestinian textbooks, mosques and media outlets frequently sing from the same songbook: that the Jews are usurpers and invaders who have no history, despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.

In her column, Shaji doesn’t stop at groundlessly trying to accuse Israel of erasing Islamic history; she also claimed that Israel attempts to prevent Christian and Muslims in Israel from accessing holy sites, and “creating religious and political exclusion.”

It is unclear from what dark recesses Shaji sourced this particular fact, but it is similarly without merit. Jerusalem, while the sovereign capital of Israel, is home to hundreds of thousands of Arabs, who enjoy full access to the city’s holy sites.

In fact, if there is any group with limited freedoms, it is the Jews. The third-holiest site in Islam, the Al Aqsa Mosque, is built atop a much older Jewish site, the Temple Mount, built centuries beforehand. According to an agreement with Israel and the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a Jordanian Islamic trust, only Muslims – not Christians, Jews or anyone else – are allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, and even then, only allowed to visit under certain circumstances.

Lakshmisree Shaji’s opinion column in The Manitoban, where she accuses Zionism of attempting to appropriate Islamic sites for its own historical claims, is entirely without basis in history.

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