Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Star of the Prophet David

In the Judeo-Christian Western World, the six-pointed Star of David is the symbol of Judaism. Since the formation of the Jewish state, it also carries political freight – it is the central feature of the Israeli flag. In the Muslim World, the six pointed star is a Muslim symbol.

From Yemen to Egypt to Syria, it was incorporated in Islamic architecture from the first centuries of Islam. David is considered a Muslim prophet (along with Moses and Jesus); the six-pointed star in Islam is also called the Star of David.

Last weekend, a Syrian friend invited me to his family home in Homs, Syria's third largest city. We visited one of the city's oldest mosques, located in the labyrinthine souq. Under an archway and down a few well-polished stone steps from the market bustle, black, metal doors opened into the serenity of the mosque. The doors were decorated with a familiar symbol: a repeating Star of the Prophet David.