Incitement Watch - Flashpoint: Al Aksa
Posted: August 24, 2005
Though based on gross exaggerations and false information, the incitement campaign has managed to anger Muslims worldwide, many of whom have become convinced that the state of Israel is plotting to destroy one of Islam's holiest places. Anti-Israel rallies to "protect Al Aksa Mosque," sometimes accompanied by displays of outright anti-Semitism, have been held in several countries. In April, thousands of Muslims gathered at the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia to express their solidarity with the Al Aksa Mosque, waving banners with slogans like "Go to hell Zionist Israel" and "Jihad against arrogant Jews."
At a May rally in New York to "defend Al Aksa," several Muslim groups gathered displaying signs equating Israel with Nazi Germany and in one case expressing support for the Hamas terrorist group. In the Iranian capital of Tehran, at least two student rallies protesting the "destruction of Al Aksa" took place, at which Israeli and American flags were burned by the crowd and numerous flags of Hamas were waved; at another event in Tehran newspapers reported that 200 people were recruited to serve as suicide bombers to "protect Al Aksa."
The libel that Israel intended to allow harm to come to Al Aksa has also prompted several violent rallies in Jerusalem. In April and May, Muslim protestors responding to a "state of emergency" declared by the Muslim waqf in Jerusalem clashed with Israeli police attempting to maintain calm, resulting in injuries on both sides and among bystanders. In June a group of Jewish tourists visiting the Temple Mount was stoned by local Palestinians after Muslim leaders urged their followers to protect the Al Aksa Mosque from incursions.
The fabricated conspiracy was even used by Palestinian terror organizations as a pretext to resume attacks against Israeli towns. Three people were killed and five were injured when Hamas launched rockets against an Israeli town in "retaliation" for Jews having visited the Al Aksa compound. When the terrorist group Islamic Jihad resumed attacks against Israelis after a short period of calm in early June, a spokesman for the group announced that it was reacting to Israel's alleged effort "to destroy to the Aksa mosque."