Iraq To Build Mosque Over Prophet’s Tomb
And wants its Jewish archives back
Ezekiel is buried in Iraq (so are Ezra, Daniel, Nehemiah, Nahum, and Jonah—where exactly did you think Babylon was, anyway?). He is supposedly interred in a tomb in the town of Al-Kifl, south of Baghdad. The building has a minaret attached, but in its interior there are Hebrew inscriptions and a Torah ark. Give credit where credit is due: the local Shiites have preserved it this way for centuries (Ezekiel is holy to them, too). Now, though, according to local reports, the Iraqi government plans to remove all traces of the site’s Jewish heritage and build a mosque atop it. The government cites the structure’s dangerous condition, but many have their doubts.
Meanwhile, half a world away, the invaluable contents of the Iraqi Jewish Archive, recovered by U.S. troops in May 2003 from a flooded basement, are in storage near Washington, D.C. The Iraqi government wants them back, and it is worth pausing on what the head of the country’s national archives had to say in response to concerns that Iraq’s Jewish artifacts do not belong in a country with maybe a dozen Jews left in it: “Iraqis must know that we are a diverse people,” he said, “with different traditions, different religions, and we need to accept this diversity.”