23rd January 2001


A report in the London Guardian by Suzanne Goldenberg, ‘The two faces of Ariel Sharon’ (Guardian, 23rd January), reported several outrageous statements by the retired Israeli General who is standing in the latest Israeli elections.

Goldenberg reported that:

Mr Sharon expressed no remorse for a provocative visit to the holiest Muslim site in Jerusalem on September 28, which ignited the recent violence, in which 370 people have been killed.

He also mocked Muslim claims to the Haram al-Sharif, saying: “You know, the Koran doesn’t mention Jerusalem once. When the Jews pray, all over the world, they face the Temple Mount. When an Arab prays, he prays to Mecca. Even when an Arab is on the Mount, his back is to it. Also some of his lower parts.”

The Islamic Human Rights Commission wrote a letter to the Guardian Editor correcting Ariel Sharon’s false claim that the Qur’an does not mention Jerusalem, and also calling on the newspaper to be more accurate in condemning Sharon as a war criminal – Goldenberg does not accurately indicate this fact (please see Annex 1 for the IHRC’s letter).

Please write to the Guardian reiterating these points in your own words at

Guardian Editor’s email: editor@guardian.co.uk


Dear Editor,

With regard to Suzanne Goldenberg’s report of 23 January, Ariel Sharon’s false claim that the Qur’an does not refer to Jerusalem even once is another manifestation of his long record of dishonesty. The Qur’an clearly refers to the land of Jerusalem in Surah Al-Isra, Verse 1, among numerous other verses. Sharon’s “deliberate ignorance” in this connection doubtless illustrates his plans to annex, occupy and expand settlements in all of Jerusalem in violation of international law, if he wins the Israeli elections.

Although Goldenberg’s critical presentation of Sharon’s long history of atrocities against Palestinians is welcome, she simply does not go far enough. She fails to note the crucial fact that the retired Israeli General’s policies make him a pre-eminent war criminal, who should be arrested and tried for his crimes. Indeed, an international petition signed by numerous eminent academics and human rights activists states that Sharon “was a principal in the first degree to murder, war crimes, grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and crimes against humanity, causing the death and injury of thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians”, who “should be indicted for the crimes for which he has been responsible.” (IndictSharonNow@aol.com)

Yours faithfully,

Massoud Shadjareh
Islamic Human Rights Commission