Monday 21st August marks 48 years since a devastating fire engulfed Masjidul Aqsa in Palestine. The fire of 1969 was started by Australian tourist Dennis Micheal Rohan who claimed to be acting upon divine instruction to destroy Al-Aqsa mosque and make way for Zionists to build the Temple of Solomon. He was arrested and found to be mentally unstable. He died in 1995 at an Australian mental institution. The fire caused irreparable damage to the 1000 year old mimbar gifted to Palestine during the 12th century by Salahuddin Ayyubi, after he re-captured country from the Crusaders.
In light of this significant day and recent evemts, the Al Quds Foundation and the Muslim Judicial Council (SA) have called upon Muslims to attend a special siyaam programme at the Darul Islam Masjied, Surrey Estate immediately after Magrieb on Monday evening.
The torching of this holy and historic site shocked the Arab world and was yet another proof that the mosque was always targeted. Today, it 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 every 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. But Israel ignored the resolution.
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, 48 years after the first attack, the mosque is still threatened by dozens of extremist Zionist settlers. Temple groups, funded by the state and the occupation municipality in Jerusalem, are actively agitating for the construction of a Jewish “Third Temple” in place of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
These are the groups behind the increasingly aggressive incursions into Al-Aqsa, under the guise of seeking more access for Jews. But the outcome they seek is the destruction of Al-Aqsa in order to build the temple. According to some analysts, there are groups that have already developed detailed blueprints for it.