The day after an ancient mosque in Jerusalem was vandalized and burned, allegedly by Jewish extremists, participants at a Rome conference on “sacred space” called for absolute respect for all places of worship. Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars met at Rome’s Pontifical University of St. Thomas to discuss the theological, legal and sociological implications of sacred space.
“In the course of our deliberations, we were given a reminder of how necessary and timely our exchanges indeed are, as we received news of yet another incident of mosque burning — even if a deserted mosque no longer in use — this time in Jerusalem itself, a city holy to all three religions,” said a statement issued at the end of the meeting.
News reports said the 12th-century Nebi Akasha Mosque has not been used for worship since Israel declared its statehood in 1948. The reports said the attack is believed to be part of a series of acts of vandalism by Jewish extremists protesting the scheduled demolition of Israeli settlements in the contested West Bank. The scholars meeting in Rome said, “We assert a firm commitment to protect all spaces holy to all religions.”