The Churches of Damascus according to Ibn ‘Asākir (d. 1176). The Destruction of the Church of St. John the Baptist by Caliph Walīd I
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The Islamic commentators on the Damascus mosque from the eighth to the twelfth centuries demonstrated superiority of Islam to Christianity to reduce the influence of the earlier owners of the sanctuary, giving this holy place the exclusively Muslim meaning. The tradition recorded by Ibn ‘Asākir in his Tārīh madīnat Dimašq confirms this tendency. Although one can speak about some kind of tolerance in medieval Islam according to the researches of Yohannan Friedmann Muslims faced other religions from the position of a ruling power and were, therefore, able to determine the nature of that relationship in accordance with their world-views and beliefs. This phenomenon explains why from among 15 churches in the first part of the 7th century in Damascus in the 12th century there were only three churches used in the Christian cult, one was partially destroyed, seven were ruined and four were changed into mosques.
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