Fire Broke Out At Islam's Third Holiest Site On The Same Night That Notre Dame Church Burned

Fire Broke Out At Islam's Third Holiest Site On The Same Night That Notre Dame Church Burned

The fire was believed to have started by children playing near the mosque however it did not result in any major damage and was extinguished within no time

Around the same time that people in Paris and all around the world watched the fire that burnt important portions of the Notre Dame cathedral including its famous wooden spire on Monday evening, there was a fire in one of the holiest mosques in another part of the world. Footage of smokes coming out of the roof of the Marwani Prayer Hall also known as Solomon's Stables in Jerusalem’s old town was widely shared on social media reports Express UK. The Al-Aqsa Mosque has the capacity to hold as many as 5,000 people. “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.”



The Jordanian government runs the Waqf that is in charge of the administration of Al-Aqsa. A report in The Times of Israel stated that the fire was small and firefighters managed to quickly get control of things and extinguished it, according to a Waqf official. Around the same time, there was a massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral that took down some age-old parts of the church made of wood. This news overshadowed that of fire at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Bassem Abu Labda from the Waqf said that that the fire may have been caused by children who were near the mosque. 


Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director general of the Jerusalem Waqf and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs Department, also said the same thing according to The Times of Israel report. In fact, Labda "blamed" children who were playing near the mosque of setting a fire that damaged a mobile wooden guard booth on the rooftop of a prayer room located in the southeastern portion of the mosque's compound. The fire, however, appears to not have caused any major or permanent damage to structures to the mosque.


“We only lost a mobile guard booth that guards would sit in when it rains. We did not lose anything important,” said Labda.  Pictures posted on Twitter showed what appeared to be the guard booth on fire. Nevertheless, police are investigating the reason for the fire. Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Israeli police confirmed firefighters had quickly put the flames out. He, however, stated that he was not sure whether these were Israeli or Waqf firefighters.


The site is governed by a fragile status quo between Israel, Palestinian and Jordanian authorities. The Dome of the Rock is also located here and is one of the holiest sites for Muslims. The Express UK report highlights the nearly 2000  years old history associated with the prayer room. It is thought to have been built by King Herod, who is believed to be king of Judea when Jesus was born. The Al-Aqsa mosque is also called the Temple Mount and is a venerated site for not just Muslims but even Christians and Jews.


Back in 1969, there were widespread riots after a fire was set by an Australian Christian tourist who was later found to be suffering from a mental condition. The fire caused damage to a pulpit in the mosque and set.  The Notre Dame Fire on Monday hogged most of the headlines on the day which is probably the reason by many around the world did not even hear about the blaze in Al-Aqsa mosque. As many as 400 firefighters finally brought the situation under control after five hours however not before consumed the famous wooden spire and large portions of the wooden structure in the roof and inside the church. 


A number of valuable artworks were fortunately saved. French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to rebuild the church in five years and said that the government and the people "together" were into this project to restore the pride of France. “We will rebuild Notre-Dame even more beautiful and I want it to be completed in five years, we can do it. It is up to us to convert this disaster into an opportunity to come together, having deeply reflected on what we have been and what we have to be and become better than we are. It is up to us to find the thread of our national project." together to repair their national symbol. 

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