Memory of 48 Years of Al-Aqsa Arson Attack

Al-Aqsa Mosque once passed through the dark days of the early years of the occupation. Precisely on August 21, 1969, when the first Muslim Qibla was burned by an Australian tourist who later called as Radical Zionist, namely Denis Michael Rohan.

He was arrested, but the Israeli court released him on the grounds that what Rohan did in a lost state of mind. The arson itself was recorded as Israel’s most daring desecration againts al-Aqsa mosque. For being part of the realization of the main Zionist agenda to knock down the noble mosque and replace it with the Illusion Temple of Solomon.

What Israeli occupiers did was like testing the water, trying to test the extent of Muslims reaction when the al-Aqsa mosque burned. This attitude could be inferred from the statement of Golda Meir, the 4th Prime Minister of Zionist Israel. On the day of the arson attack, Golda Meir said, “The toughest day of my government was the day when the Al-Aqsa Mosque was burned. At the dawn of the burned day, I was so worried and could not sleep (fear of Muslim reaction).  However, in the morning I was very happy because we dealing with people who were sleep tight.”

As if already planned, the arson attack was supported by the conditions in the field. As Sheykh Ikrimah Shabri, Imam Masjid al-Aqsa, said, “When it became a horrible sight, more than one third of the al-Qibli mosque was burned,” he recalls as written on

He later recalled, when the arson attack occurred, the Israeli occupiers deliberately cut the water supply from Al-Qibli Chapel and its surroundings and was reluctant to send fire engines. Finally, the worshippers shoulder to shoulder with a bucket to extinguish the fire that continues to spread. Nur al-Din pulpit or known as Saladin pulpit was scorched, one-third damage of Masjid Al-Qibli, Masjid Omar, Masjid Zakariya, Maqam Arbain, three Mosque corridors dome timber, 48 windows, and other damage

Indeed this tragedy had an impact against the international world, but again, as Golden Meir says, not as scary as she imagined it to be. The UN Security Council, for example, on September 15, 1969 issued a resolution 271 condemning Israel over the arson attack, and called it disrespectful of UN resolutions.

While in the Islamic world, this arson tragedy became the forerunner the establishment of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) which is currently renamed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. A total of 57 countries incorporated in this organization including Indonesia.

Now 48 years have passed, and what is the fate of al-Aqsa mosque today? The answer, the mosque is still under Israeli Zionist control. Mosque of the world’s Muslim heritage is still occupied by Israeli illegal occupiers, it is not easy for Muslims to pray there. There is age limit, there are ID checks from the Israeli armies, the Palesinians must be pass the checkpoints. While the illegal Jewish settlers, given unlimited discretion, with their strict guarding of the apparatus, they can perform Talmudic rituals insideal-Aqsa mosque. So, still the Muslims remainsilent?


Muhammad Syarief

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