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Flashpoint: Al Aksa - Chronology of Incitement

Posted: August 24, 2005

August 20, 2005, Sheik Dr. Yusuf Jum'ah Salamah, Palestinian Minister of Religious Affairs:

In a statement carried by WAFA, the Palestinian news agency, Salamah "called on Arab and Islamic nations, the free people in the world, and the human rights organizations to put a stop to the true dangers posed against the holy shrines in Palestine by the Israeli conspiracies aiming to control the mosques, particularly the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque [Jerusalem] and Al-Ibrahimi Mosque [Hebron]."  He alleged Israel intended to "[continue] escalating attacks, desecrating our holy shrines, insulting the person of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, storming the mosques, preventing worshippers from entering them, and banning the calls to prayer in these mosques, which contradicts all heavenly and international laws and legislations that guarantee the right to worship."  (BBC Monitoring, August 21)



August 19, 2005, Sheik Muhammad Husayn Fadallah, spiritual leader of Hezbollah:

In a sermon preached at a Beirut mosque, Fadallah commemorated the 36th anniversary of an arson attack against Al Aksa, carried out by a mentally unstable Australian Christian:


"The anniversary is the passage of 36 years since the burning of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by the Zionists, who are planning to build the temple on the mosque rubble or to share it through the creation of some appropriate conditions….The Judaization plan continues to work to swallow the entire Jerusalem and to threaten the Al-Aqsa Mosque with Jewish raids from time to time…"



August 14, 2005, Sheik Ikrima Sabri, PA-appointed mufti of Jerusalem:

In an Arabic-language interview in the newspaper Al-Nahar, Sabri warned of threats to Al Aksa:


"Everything is possible and relevant. What is painful and what raises more concern is that the Israeli government knows the identity of the extremists threatening to storm Al-Aksa and leaves them without punishment…


"The Jews have their eyes on Al-Aksa Mosque. They await the opportunity and they create pretexts to swoop down on Al-Aksa. They have linked the pullout from Gaza to the storming of Al-Aksa. We declared that we reject such a linkage. Al-Aksa cannot be subject to bargains or to concessions. Al-Aksa is more sacred than to be tried or be subject of negotiation. What we fear from the issue of Gaza and as a result of the pullout from Gaza is because they, government and state, are trying to Judaize the holy city in the period they are withdrawing from Gaza." (BBC Monitoring, August 15)



August 14, 2005, Hamas official Sheik Hasan Yusuf:

In an interview on Al Jazeera television about the Gaza disengagement, Sheik Yusuf warned:


"Today our eyes are directed at Jerusalem. I appeal to the Arabs, Muslims and all free people everywhere and warn them that the occupation and the Jewish extremists might invade Al Aksa Mosque tonight. I appeal to our people… to rush and resist this arrogance by the extremists who are supported by the Israeli occupation in order to protect [Al Aksa]….


"What will be left for us in terms of dignity and pride if the Al Aksa Mosque is trampled upon and if the occupiers destroy it? This will be the greatest of all disasters and none of us will be excused at all if this happens." (BBC Monitoring, August 15)



August 14, 2005, Palestinian Islamic trust official in Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammed Hussein:   

In an interview with Iran News Agency Sheik Hussein explained why he was calling on Muslim to come "protect Al Aksa":


"The threats have never ceased since 1967, hence we are always on high alert to thwart such attacks on Islamic holy places in Jerusalem….


"We can't rely on assurances from the Israeli government. The Israeli occupation authorities are not neutral in this regard. Hence, we have to be vigilant and not leave anything to chances." (Iran News Agency, August 15)



August 7, 2005, Arab League:

According to, the Arab League released a statement in which it appealed to the international community "to assume responsibility and protect al-Aksa mosque and other Islamic and Christian holy places from the Israeli plots to judaize Jerusalem and isolate it from other Palestinian cities." ArabicNews reported that the statement came "on the 35th anniversary of the Israeli attempt to burn al-Aksa mosque," a reference to the 1969 arson by an Australian Christian fundamentalist. 



June 24, 2005, Sheik Abd-al-Rahman al-Sudays:

Conclusion of sermon delivered at main mosque in Mecca:


"O God, support our brother mujahidin in your cause everywhere. O God, support them in Palestine against the aggressor Zionists. O God, protect Al Aksa Mosque from the aggression of the aggressors and the plotting of the plotters." (BBC Monitoring, June 26)



June 14, 2005, Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzuq:


"The Al-Aksa issue is not only linked to a spot of the Palestinian land. It is an issue that is of concern to all Muslims throughout the world. Therefore, a large-scale campaign is necessary because the Zionist threat to the Al-Aksa Mosque is serious and has been repeated. It is no longer an annual occurrence. It is now done within very short periods of time in serious attempts either to destroy the Al-Aksa Mosque or break into it. Therefore, all Islamic organizations in the world, whether they are professional, popular, trade unions, civil society organizations or governments must tackle this issue and try to contribute towards saving the Al-Aksa Mosque.


"Our Palestinian people are in captivity. They are in a big prison and are defending the Al-Aksa Mosque as much as they can, but the entire Islamic nation must defend the Al-Aksa Mosque." (BBC Monitoring, June 17)



June 11, 2005, Organization of the Islamic Conference (an association of 57 Muslim countries):

Following a meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, OIC secretary general, held a press conference to warn that:


"The situation in Jerusalem is highly dangerous as the colonization operations conducted by the Israeli occupation forces have taken hazardous dimensions to suffocate the Holy City with its Islamic shrines, mostly Al Aksa holy mosque." (Bahrain News Agency, June 11)



June 6, 2005, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri:


"This is a dangerous development in the Israeli attacks against our Palestinian people and our holy places. We, in Hamas and the resistance forces, will not stand idly by with regard to this aggression on Al-Aksa Mosque and the Palestinian people….


"This aggression against the Palestinian people and the Al-Aksa Mosque voids the calm of any significance, and it has been Hamas's constant position that it will respond to any aggression on our holy places and people at the right time and with appropriate means." (Palestinian Information Centre web site in Arabic, BBC Monitoring, June 6)


June 3, 2005, Sheik Muhammad Husayn, director of Al Aksa Mosque:

"The Israeli  government [is] fully responsible for the consequences and repercussions of tampering with the blessed Al Aksa Mosque and for the recurrent threats against it, the most recent being the threat by the extremist Jewish groups and several Israeli officials to storm it on Sunday and Monday.


"[If the Al Aksa Mosque was attacked] the repercussions of the attack would go beyond the borders of Palestine to impact the entire region and the world…. the Arab and Muslim governments are responsible for protecting the Al Aksa Mosque and taking any measures or arrangements to protect it by all means…. one cannot imagine in any case whatsoever that peace could be established in the region while attempts to attack the Al Aksa Mosque, Jerusalem, the Palestinian territories and people continue." (WAFA Palestinian News Agency, BBC Monitoring, June 4, 2005)



June 3, 2005, Palestinian Scholars Association:

"Any harm done to the Al Aksa Mosque means the collapse of the period of calm in the Palestinian territories and setting the region on fire. The PSA calls on Muslims worldwide to go beyond the stage of reactions…. The Israeli occupation government continues to turn a blind eye to the practices of these extremist Jewish groups and even collaborates with them to change the features of Jerusalem….


"Let the occupation understand that harming the Al Aksa Mosque means rivers of blood, floods, and corpses." (WAFA Palestinian News Agency, BBC Monitoring June 4)



May 25, 2005, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hasan Nasrallah:

"Today our Al Aksa Mosque is threatened with destruction. Our holy Koran is being desecrated by the Americans in Guantanamo. America is attacking the region with the purpose of dismembering it and triggering civil and sectarian war in it. America is determined to confront the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine. Therefore, we must follow developments and be ready….


"Al Aksa Mosque is threatened. When it is seriously threatened, this mosque will call out for help from every Muslim, Christian, patriot, Arab and honorable person in this world. We must be ready to meet the call of Al Aksa Mosque through any means and at any level. We tell it as of now: Here we are at your service, O Al Aksa. [Chants of 'We are at your service, O Al Aksa,' is repeated four times after him.] Our Holy Koran is being desecrated. All world Islamic movements will on Friday [27 May] carry out activities in condemnation of this." (Al Manar TV, BBC Monitoring, May, 26)



May 13, 2005, Palestinian Higher Islamic Commission:

A Palestinian commission in charge of coordinating Palestinian religious affairs, the Higher Islamic Commission held a special meeting, which, according to the Palestinian daily Al Ayyam, was dedicated to "confronting the comprehensive Israeli war on Jerusalem and Al Aksa." The commission is chaired by PA appointed mufti of Jerusalem, Sheik Ikrima Sabri. According to Al Ayyam the commission declared:


"The war against Al Aksa and Jerusalem is a ferocious and comprehensive war…


"[We should] set up a satellite station focused on Jerusalem and Al Aksa Mosque. The station's duty will be to regularly pump blood in the memory of the nation, keep the issue alive, hold seminars and lectures and spread news and ideas." (BBC Monitoring, May 13)



May 13, 2005, Dr. Isam Ahmad al-Bashir, Sudanese Minister of Guidance and Endowment:

Concluded his sermon at Al Shahid Mosque in Khartoum, Sudan:


"O God reinstate the Al Aksa Mosque to the sanctity of Muslim sanctuaries, away from the impurity of Jewish usurpers. O God support our oppressed brothers and mujahideen in all places." (BBC Monitoring, May, 13)    



May 10, 2005, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Quray:

"Israeli threats to Al Aksa Mosque will lead to explosion in the region." (BBC Monitoring, May 11)



May 9, 2005, Taysir Tamimi, PA-appointed "supreme Muslim judge":

"Israeli occupation forces should prevent settlers who have threatened to attack Al Aksa Mosque from approaching. But instead they are preventing Palestinians from coming to pray or allowing them to face these Jewish extremist groups ... who plan to destroy or occupy Al Aksa this year in order to establish the so-called Temple." (, May 9)



May 8, 2005, Hamas communiqué:

"We also call on the Arab and Islamic nations…to shoulder their responsibility to champion, defend and cleanse the Al Aksa Mosque from the occupiers' filth." (BBC Monitoring, May 8)



May 6, 2005, Sheik Ismail Nwahidah:

In a Friday sermon at Al Aksa that was broadcast live on Voice of Palestine radio:


"Threats leveled by extremists with the backing of official parties are increasing day after day amid suspicious Arab and Islamic silence. Some Israeli officials' threats to partition Al Aksa Mosque to establish the alleged temple on its debris or to build a synagogue on part of it are rejected part and parcel and are unacceptable at all levels. Let them know that any harm to Al Aksa Mosque is harm to the Muslims' faith." (BBC Monitoring, May 9)



April 25, 2005, Iranian foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi:

"The world of Islam should be more active vis-a-vis the Zionist regime's plots and its desecration of Al Aksa Mosque." (Iran Daily English newspaper)



April 18, 2005, Hamas leader Hassan Yousef:

"My last visit to the Aksa was when Sharon desecrated it, a step that ignited the Aksa intifada in the year 2000….This time we said the same [desecration] will not be repeated and [Israelis] will not pass [into the mosque] except over our dead bodies." (Palestine Information Center, April 18)



April 18, 2005, Iranian governing council:

In a letter to Iranian President Mohammad Khatami the Islamic Republic's governing council asked the president to protect Al Aksa:


"As you know, usurpers of holy Al-Qods [Jerusalem] have organized a plot to damage and even destroy the Al Aksa Mosque and for the first time have gone too far so that the head of the Zionist regime has claimed the ownership of half of the Al Aksa Mosque to build a temple for Jewish Zionists.


"The signatories ask the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and especially Your Excellency to resist this sinister plot that is against the whole Muslim world." (BBC Monitoring, April 21)



April 15, 2005, Iranian foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi:

During a special meeting with the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, the Iranian minister said:


"Israel's broad measures for desecrating Al Aksa Mosque hurt Muslims' feelings. The issue has highlighted the urgency of adopting more serious policies by Muslim states and the Organization of the Islamic Conference." (IRNA, Iranian News Agency)



April 12, 2005, Iranian newspaper Jomhuri-ye Eslami:


"The spontaneous gathering of 20,000 Palestinian martyrdom seekers around the Al Aksa Mosque was the first reaction people showed vis-à-vis the orchestrated plan of Zionists to destroy the Al Aksa Mosque…." (BBC Monitoring, April 12)



April 11, 2005, Organization of the Islamic Conference:

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, OIC secretary general, threatened that:


"Any Israeli attack which may involve Al Aksa Mosque will lead to unprecedented state of anger in the Islamic world and destructive repercussions regarding the international peace." (Arab News, April 11)



April 7, 2005, Iranian News Agency:

"The Mufti of Palestine Ikrema Sabri and the supreme Muslim Judge Taysir Tamimi [both PA Appointed] urged Muslims in Palestine as well around the world to be vigilant in order to [stop] Zionist Jewish attempts to assault and physically attack Islamic holy places in Jerusalem."



March 27, 2005, Sheik Abdallah Rabih:

In his Friday sermon, broadcast on Syrian radio:


"A devious campaign is under way to harm the Islamic and Christian sanctities in occupied Palestine by Judaizing Jerusalem and blowing up Al Aksa Mosque… They want to obliterate Jerusalem's Islamic character and to evict its Muslim and Christian inhabitants under the very noses of the Arab, Islamic and Western worlds….


"[Mecca and Medina] will also be targeted in the future." (BBC Monitoring, March 27)



Flashpoint: Al Aksa - Chronology of Fallout:


June 7, 2005:

Palestinians launch several mortar shells and rockets on Jewish residential areas in and around the Gaza Strip. As a result two Palestinians and a Chinese who were working in a settlement's green house were killed and five other workers injured. Hamas said the attack came in retaliation for Jews' visiting the Al Aksa compound the day before, according to the New York Times. A spokesman for the Islamic Jihad, which also participated in the attacks, announced that Israel "is trying to destroy the Aksa Mosque," listing it as one of the reasons Jihad is declaring the calm over, according to the Jerusalem Post.


June 6, 2005:

Palestinians riot and stone Jewish visitors to Al Aksa Mosque compound.  Two visitors and a policeman were hit by rocks and injured. Palestinian radio reported that day that "religious and national" officials had called on citizens to "protect" the mosque. (BBC Monitoring, June 6)


May 17, 2005:

Students rally in Tehran, Iran, protesting "the destruction of Al Aksa." Israeli and American flags are burned, and the banner of Hamas's Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades is flown.


May 15, 2005:

Lebanon, a women's group associated with Hamas mobilized thousands of women marched outside a refugee camp near Sidon; many carried rifles, swords and daggers or wore mock suicide belts. The women chanted "Jihad ... jihad, Palestine can only be liberated by blood and martyrdom." A Hamas speaker talked about "daily attempts of destruction and desecration [of Al Aksa] by hating Zionists." (Associated Press, May 15)


May 12, 2005:

A Syrian group, Headquarters for Commemorating Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement, held a gathering at a cemetery in Tehran where it announced the formation of a suicide bombers squad to protect Al Aksa. It registered about 200 volunteers, according to the Australian Associated Press.


May 11, 2005:

According to Iran News Agency, students gathered in Tehran opposite the U.N. building "to protest against the desecration of Al Aksa Mosque by the Zionist regime." The students released a statement condemning the "desecration of Al Aksa" and expressing "disgust" at the "ominous intentions of the racist Zionist regime."


May 6, 2005:

Several Muslim and far left groups, together with the anti-Zionist ultra-orthodox Neturei Karta, held a rally in front of the Israeli mission to the U.N. to "defend Al Aksa" and condemn the creation of the State of Israel.  Participants included the Islamic Thinkers Society, a radical Islamic group. It was endorsed by far left NJ Solidarity and the International Action Center.  One of the sign incorporated a Hamas symbol.

April 17, 2005:

In Indonesia, the Prosperous Justice Party (goes by the
PKS) held a protest outside the U.S. embassy in
Jakarta "in solidarity with Al Aksa Mosque." Large PKS
banners at the rally proclaimed: "Save Al Aksa Mosque
from the raid of the Jews." Other banners included the slogans:
"Al Aksa is our mosque, not their synagogue," "Jihad against
arrogant Jews," "Go to hell Zionist Israel." Smaller rallies were
held in several additional cities.


April 10, 2005:

In response to a Jerusalem rally organized by a radical Jewish group, Revava, hundreds of Muslim worshipers gathered at the Al Aksa compound and clashed with police. Hassan Yousef, senior Hamas leader and Kamal Al-Khateeb of the Islamic Movement in Israel, were key speakers. Three policemen were injured by stone throwers.   

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