One of this website's regular readers sent along this article, and in case you hadn't yet heard about it, I decided I needed to blog about it. On the same day that Notre Dame de Paris was burning, there was also a fire at the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
That's near the Dome of the Rock, folks:
Like Notre Dame, the Dome of the Rock is, architecturally, a beautiful and sublime building, and like Notre Dame is for the Christian world, the site is one of the most revered in the Islamic world...
... and it was burning not only on the same day as Notre Dame, but at the same time:
A fire broke out at the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem just as flames ravaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
Footage showing smoke and fire emerging from the roof of a structure known as the Marwani Prayer Room, or Solomon's Stables, could be seen on social media. The Palestine News Agency, the official outlet of the Palestinian National Authority, cited a guard as saying Monday that "the fire broke out in the guard's room outside the roof of the Marwani Prayer Room, and the fire brigade of the Islamic Waqf handled the matter successfully."
No injuries or damage was reported during the short blaze.
News of the incident at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam and central to the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, was largely overshadowed by a much larger blaze engulfing the Notre Dame Cathedral at the same time. There was no evidence of any link between the two fires.
The Marwani Prayer Room is located underneath the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, which contains both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director general of the Jerusalem Waqf and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs Department, told Jordan's Al-Mamlaka TV that the fire broke out in the courtyard and preliminary information suggested that it may have been caused by children tampering in the area. (Emphasis added)
Ok... I admit it: as soon as I read this story, I wasn't buying, and I'm still not buying, and one reason I'm still not buying is that there hasn't been much else coming out about this story. But consider just two points from this article: (1) the fire was reported by an actual guard at the site as having broken out "in the guard's room outside the Marwani Prayer room," but then we are told that the director general of the site stated that (2) the fire "broke out in the courtyard" and (3) that is may have been caused by children tampering in the area," in other words, it was all a childish prank of some sort, gone horribly wrong, or an accident of play that got out of hand.
There's so much here that sends my suspicion meter straight into the red zone that I don't even know where to begin, but I suppose we could begin with that business about "children tampering in the area." I'm calling hogwash on that one, for what set of parents - or for that matter, the children themselves - are going to think that a fun prank would be to set fire near the mosque? For Christian or Jewish children, one can't imagine parents raising their children to think it's ok to play pranks at the mosque, and for Muslim children it would be similarly - though for very different reasons - unthinkable.
But then there's the outright contradiction of where the fire started: was it outside in the courtyard, or inside in the guards' room? What strikes me here is that we have "an official story" (it started in the courtyard) versus an actual witness's story which contradicts the official story, in this case, the witness being a guard, who said it started in the guard room. That I can wrap my head around, for if the intention was to severely damage the mosque, getting rid of the "first responders" would seem to be a logical step.
But above all it's the timing here that bothers me. Certainly a fire at Notre Dame and a fire at the Al-Aqsa mosque can happen "coincidentally" and "accidentally." But it's when one considers the emerging details and contradictions in the narrative that inevitably send the suspicion meter into the red zone, that the possibility that both fires were deliberate acts begins to take on a horrifying possibility.
The only difference between the two events is that the mosque fire was put out fairly quickly, and before serious damage could be done, otherwise we might have some globaloneyist proposing to rebuild it as some modernist "inclusive" monstrosity.
The bottom line for me here, and I don't know about you, is that there is much more to this story... it's like a mackerel on a moonlit beach: it both shines and stinks, not the least because of the contradictions in what is known, as well as for the fact that not much more is known.
Time will tell, but I suspect this story, too, will not go away. I"m just not buying the "coincidence" story.
See you on the flip side...