The al-Aqsa Mosque fire of 1969


Media and independent reports have repeatedly blamed Israel as a major force behind the Al-Aqsa fire.

The morning of August 21, 1969, a fire engulfed the southeastern wing of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied al-Quds (‘Jerusalem’). The fire destroyed a 1000 year old precious and historic pulpit dating to the 12th Century. The damage done to the Mosque was restored to some extent with the contribution of $US 9 million by Jordan.

As the natural reaction would be, heated demonstrations took place in the Arab parts of al-Quds to condemn this heinous act. All access points to the Mosque were blocked, hundreds of police officers were recruited to curb the agitators, and a curfew was put in East Jerusalem the same evening. The initial assumptions stated that an electrical fault became the cause of the fire but reports started spreading about Israelis responsible for it. At the time the fire was being extinguished, there were also claims that the Israeli fire extinguishers threw gasoline on the fire instead of water.

The next day brought to limelight another culprit, Dennis Michael Rohan, an Australian tourist who was termed responsible for the arson and was arrested on August 23. Rohan turned out to be a Protestant follower of the Church of God which is an evangelical sect. Rohan believed that the process of the second coming of Messiah will fasten with the burning of the Mosque. Presented in front of the court, Rohan stated that he was acting as “the Lord’s emissary” following the divine instructions and also stated that his reason for trying to destruct Al-Aqsa Mosque was in order to give a chance to rebuild it as the Jewish Temple. Israel later said he was mentally ill and hospitalized him in a mental institution.

Even while Israel has repeatedly denied that Rohan was a Jew, facts have proved him to be a Zionist, recruited by the violating parties to commit this sinful task. This claim of Rohan being an Israeli was also stated by The Wall Street Journal on November 13, 2000.

Taissir Rajab Al-Tamimi, who is the Chief of Judges and Chairman of the Islamic Law High Council in the Palestinian Authority, stated in an Interview on August 23, 2004, “The Israeli government conspired and formed an alliance with this criminal – who came from Australia, and is a Jew – for the burning of the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Another prominent figure, Ibrahim Hooper who is a member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, listed down “the 1969 arson attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque” in the list of the major violations made by Israel to the sacred Islamic sites, in his article for The Washington Post on October 16, 1996.

Despite repeated denials by Israelis, media and independent reports have repeatedly blamed Israel as a major force behind the Al-Aqsa fire.