Coalition for Justice & Peace in Palestine

Sydney, Australia

Jerusalem Mamilla Cemetery

THE MAMILLA CEMETERY: ITS HISTORY AND IMPORTANCE

The Mamilla Cemetery in Jerusalem is an ancient Muslim burial ground and holy site believed to date back to the 7th century, when companions of the Prophet Muhammad were reputedly buried there. Numerous saints of the Sufi faith and thousands of other officials, scholars, notables and Jerusalemite families have been buried in the cemetery over the last 1000 years. The Muslim Supreme Council declared the cemetery an historical site in 1927, and the British Mandate authorities pronounced it an antiquities site in 1944. It was an active burial ground until 1948.

After the new State of Israel seized the western part of Jerusalem in 1948, the cemetery fell under Israeli control, and like other Islamic endowment properties, or waqf, the Mamilla Cemetery was taken over by the Custodian for Absentee Property. Since then, Muslim authorities have not been allowed to maintain the cemetery.

WHAT IS THE “CENTER FOR HUMAN DIGNITY–MUSEUM OF TOLERANCE”?

The Israeli government and the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) are currently building the “Center for Human Dignity– Museum of Tolerance” on a portion of the Mamilla Cemetery. This construction project has resulted in the disinterment of hundreds of graves, and the whereabouts of the countless human remains that have been disposed of are unknown. Israel and the SWC plan to continue the erection of the museum atop thousands of more graves.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and other groups have filed a petition on behalf of the Palestinian descendants of those buried in the cemetery. The petition, which was filed with several international bodies, urges Israel to: halt construction of the museum; investigate human rights violations; rebury human remains; and declare the Mamilla Cemetery a protected antiquities site. The Israeli government and the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) are currently building the “Center for Human Dignity– Museum of Tolerance” on a portion of the Mamilla Cemetery. This construction project has resulted in the disinterment of hundreds of graves, and the whereabouts of the countless human remains that have been disposed of are unknown. Israel and the SWC plan to continue the erection of the museum atop thousands of more graves.

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RESOURCES

Campaign to Preserve Mamilla Jerusalem Cemetery

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) – Mamilla Cemetery Petition

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NEWS & VIEWS

20 December 2011: Grave matters: Israel violates Muslim religious lands [Alternative Information Center]

25 October 2011: Archaeologists protest removal of Muslim graves [Maan News Agency]

25 July 2011: Palestinians to UN and UNESCO: Stop destruction of Mamilla cemetery for “Museum of Tolerance” [Electronic Intifada]

15 March 2011: Jerusalem Neighbourhoods – Mamilla Fact Sheet [Alternative Information Centre]

3 February 2011: UNESCO Media Update: Jerusalemites & CCR appeal to UNESCO to protect Mamilla Cemetery & condemn Israeli demolition of grave makers

19-21 November 2010: Israel’s War Against the Dead [Lawrence Swaim, Counterpunch]

5 September 2010: Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem intolerant? [George Bisharat, San Francisco Chronicle]

18 August 2010: Descendants appeal to UN over latest Mamilla Cemetery demolitions [CCR & Mamilla Campaign]

5 August 2010: Israel says ancient Muslim gravestones ‘built illegally’ [Ma’an News Agency]

4 August 2010: Israel Destroys 15 More Mamilla Graves [Alternative Information Centre]

14 June 2010: Israel plans more construction on historic Muslim cemetery [Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada]

22 February 2010: Scattered in death as in life [Nadia Hijab, The Electronic Intifada]

19 February 2010: Jerusalem families come out against museum built on ancestors’ graves [Marian Houk, The Electronic Intifada]

25 January 2010: Ruined Mamilla [Palestine Monitor]

2 September 2009: Jerusalem Museum Of Tolerance Built On Muslim Graves [Palestine Monitor]

6 November 2008: Travesty of tolerance on display [Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada]

10 September 2007: Architects protest Brown’s JNF patronship [Susannah Tarbush, The Electronic Intifada]

Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine Inc.

PO Box 144
Glebe NSW 2037
Australia
cjpp@coalitionfor
palestine.org

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