Attempt to Burn Down the el-Aqsa Mosque


View looking southwest at the el–Aqsa Mosque. The seven exterior arches mark the seven interior aisles. The focus of the mosque—towards Mecca—is under the black dome on the left (south) side of the image.

I have visited the Haram esh-Sharif (= Temple Mount) many times and know the rough outline of the attempt by the Australian Christian, Denis Michael Rohan, to burn down the el–Aqsa Mosque—21 August 1969.

For those who might be interested, Ynet Magazine has an interesting article that describes this event in more detail—The ‘king of Jerusalemwho almost burnt down Al Aqsa [mosque].  It is about a 4 minute read.

The article is very informative, at least to me, but  I did recognize several oddities in it—there may be more:

  • “set fire to the mosque’s stage (stage is an odd translation of the Arabic minbar or raised platform from which the mosque’s leader delivers messages).  Since only one person at a time occupies it, a better translation (if that is possible) might be “pulpit”—as in a Christian church.

The minbar of the Mosque of the Patriarchs in Hebron from the days of Salah edh-Dhin—the same person who defeated the Crusaders at the Horns of Hattin on 4 July 1187 and who dedicated the minbar that Michael Denis Rohan destroyed by fire.

View in the interior of the present “Tomb of the Patriarchs” looking east at the Minbar, or pulpit. On the right side are wooden doors that open to a staircase that leads up to an elevated platform from which the Imam addresses the assembled faithful. This wooden minbar was constructed in Ashqelon in A.D. 1091 and moved by Saladin to Hebron ca. 1191.

  • “a plume of black smoke billowed above the golden dome.” (the dome of the el-Aqsa has never been “golden,” as the Dome of the Rock.  It has been “black/grey” = lead or “silver-colored”).

View looking south southwest at the Dome of the Rock (right, west) and the smaller Dome of the Chain (left, east).


2 responses to “Attempt to Burn Down the el-Aqsa Mosque

  1. While the Hebrew version of the article uses a word that can be translated as “stage” or “forum”, it might better be understood as the Arabic equivalent of “bimah” (the platform in a synagogue for Torah reading)” or as posted, “pulpit”, as in a Christian church. The reference to “the golden dome” is a mistranslation of the Hebrew version of the article, which uses a word that can be translated as “silver-plated; silvery, shining”, not golden. See,7340,L-4692955,00.html (which has additional illustrations in Hebrew).

    • It is curious that the Hebrew article would use “silver-plated; silvery, shining” as a reference to the dome on the el-Aqsa—since it has been a dull gray color for quite a few years now. But then I think it was “silver-plated; silvery, shining” back in the days of Denis Rohan.

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