‘Better to sell to Muslims than to see it desecrated’

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French Jews were outraged last week to discover that a Marseilles synagogue had been sold and was being converted into a mosque, due to “changing demographics” in the country.

But it seems converting a synagogue into a mosque is better than destroying it – or leaving it to be defaced, a Jerusalem-area rabbi insisted Monday.

“It is better to sell a synagogue to be a mosque, and not a church – because Muslims are not [considered] idolators and Christians believe in cooperation [i.e. between God and Jesus – ed.],” Rabbi Eliyahu Schlesinger was quoted, in a discussion on haredi forum site B’Hadrei Haredim.

The main point, he said, is that – in the case of great need – it is ultimately better to shutter a synagogue and allow it to reopen under questionably permissible circumstances than to see it abandoned and, likely, desecrated by anti-Semites – or turned into a theater or other entertainment venue. He quoted Rabbi Moshe Feinstein in this latter opinion.

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O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). ~ Quran 49:13