Forty years after burning it, the Al Aqsa Mosque still faces the same threats

On August 21, 1969, an Australian Jewish extremist identified as Michael Dennis Rohan set the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on fire. The mosque is one of three most holy and most important places in the hearts of Muslims worldwide.

The mosque burnt and the flames were spreading but the determination and persistence of Muslim and Christian Palestinians who stood together, managed to put the fire out.

Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli police cut the water supply immediately after the mosque was set on fire, and barred hundreds of Arabs, and the firefighters from reaching the area. The fire totally burnt some of the mosque historic counters, several ceilings and the southern rooftop.

At that time, Israel claimed that the fire was caused by an electric circuit but engineers who examined the location, determined that the fire was human made. Later on, Israel said that Michael Dennis Rohan, an Australian Jew was behind the fire and that after interrogating him he said that “Jesus sent him to remove the mosque in order to enable the Jews built their temple in its place”.

The Israeli court ruled that Rohan was insane and decided to deport him to his homeland, Australia.

The burring of this holy and historic site shocked the Arab world and was yet another proof that the mosque was always targeted and is still a target as extreme groups in Israel are still threatening to demolish the mosque.

Muslims and Arabs held protests for three consecutive days in ever Arab country, and then the UN Security Council issued resolution number 271 slamming Israel and calling on it to void all arrangement that could alter the status of Jerusalem. Yet, Israel ignored the resolution as it did with every single resolution regarding the Palestinian-Israeli and Arab-Israeli conflict.

The mosque remains there, in the Old City of Jerusalem, and so remains the threats against it.

In 1979, a group of 40 extremist Jews attempted to break into the mosque and yet they were all acquitted by an Israeli court.  

In January, 27, 1982, an extremist group attempted to wire the mosque and detonate it but the plan was uncovered and ended in failure.

In January, 14, 1989, several extreme right wing members of Knesset broke into the mosque and heavy police protection.

In September, 2000, the then Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, visited the mosque was surrounded with armed bodyguards, and this provocative visit sparkled the second intifada which became known as the Al Aqsa Intifada.

In July 2008, the Israeli police and security services revealed that they believe that extremist groups might be planning to attack the mosque using an unmanned drone.

And today, 40 years after the first attack, the mosque is still threatened by dozens of people who want be a “Rohan”, dozens who want to level destroy the mosque and burns it down to the ground.  

   Arabic Source: Al Jazeera

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