Conspiracy Theories and Conflict in the Middle East

November 16, 2023

RFI’s Paul Marshall authored a piece this week for ReligionUnplugged reflecting on the nature and consequences of many conspiracy theories,” in which their “main danger…lies not in their truth or falsity, but that people believe them to be true and act on that belief.” “We ignore this at our peril,” Marshall continues.

He then turns to a widely held conspiracy theory in the Middle East that centers on a plan by Israel to destroy the site of Al-Aqsa complex in Jerusalem:

which includes the Muslim holy sites of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Some add that this is part of a project by Israel to clear these buildings from the Temple Mount in order to build the Third Temple. A key part of this scheme is believed to be efforts to breed a flawless red heifer.

Why a red heifer? In the Bible, Numbers 19: 1-2 recounts: “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: ‘This is a requirement of the law that the Lord has commanded. Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke ….’”

There is a parallel recounting in the second chapter of the Quran. Those who hold these views believe that the sacrifice of such a heifer is essential to the ritual purification that is a necessary precondition for building the temple.

Read the full article: “Unblemished Red Heifers Key To Understanding Conflict In The Middle East.”