Persistent identifier:
MS137_AJ95_150_12
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TURKEY.
23
voluntary contributions of the Jews of India and elsewhere. It is guarded by two doorkeepers, one of whom is a Mussulman, and the other an Israelite. To. leave an Israelite alone in a secluded spot in the centre of a most fanatical population would be to expose him to certain assassination. This explains the employment of a Mussulman as second guardian. These doorkeepers are paid by the Jewish Community. All repairs and alterations in the building are, and have been from time immemorial, defrayed by the Jewish Community. Workmen who have been employed for the purpose can prove this. The Jews use the place as a Synagogue, and celebrate divine worship there every Sabbath. On certain occasions during the year they hold a small congregation at the Shrine, who engage in religious exercises day and night for several weeks. On the walls of the interior are sacred passages written in Hebrew, such as the Jews set up in holy places of a like character. The remains of a certain Rabbi Jacob were quite recently interred within the court-yard, outside the sanctuary itself, but not more than three yards from the doorway.
Notwithstanding the above facts, which we think offer convincing proof of the validity of the Jewish claim, it is pretended that the Shrine is Mahomedan property, having been built by the owners on the site of a Mosque. We are assured that this statement is absolutely without foundation, and we feel certain that if those who advance the claim were required to establish it to the satisfaction of any just and impartial tribunal they would completely fail in the attempt.
The Archives of the local authorities of Bagdad could doubtless furnish evidence of the long and uninterrupted user of this Shrine by the Jews as a tomb and place of worship.
In the year 1860 a similar attempt was made to deprive the Jews of Bagdad of the possession of the Tomb of the Prophet Ezekiel. Musurus Pasha, then Turkish Ambassador at the Court of St. James's, interposed with the Sublime Porte, at the instance of the Jewish Board of Deputies, and the right of the Jews to the Tomb was established.
We are assured by eminent and reliable authorities that the action of the Council " A1 Istanaf," in passing a cruel and unjust sentence on innocent persons, will produce very serious and far-reaching effects; that it will bring the whole of our brethren in Bagdad into odium and contempt as violators of public law, and must serve to encourage further fanatical attacks upon them. It will, moreover, shake the title of
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