A landmark mosque in Aleppo was burned, scarred by bullets and trashed — the latest casualty of Syria's civil war — and President Bashar Assad on Monday ordered immediate repairs to try to stem Muslim outrage at the desecration of the 12th century site.According to one of those interviewed, the Syrian army was stationed inside the mosque "because of its strategic location in the Old City".
Of course, the simpler answer could be that the Syrian army used the mosque because the mosque itself was a strategic location.
After all, what Muslim would attack and destroy a mosque?
Quite a few actually -- for example:
- In August 2011, the New York Times reported that 28 Are Killed in Bombing at a Mosque in Baghdad
- In October 2010 in Afghanistan, The Taliban murdered the head of Kunduz province, along with 14 other people, in a mosque bombing in Tahkar. The governor had been outspoken in his opposition to the Taliban and allied terror groups operating in the north.
- There's the mosque burned during the arson attack on the Crazy Water Park in Gaza in September 2010 as reported by The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
- There was the mosque destroyed in Lebanon during a fight between Hezbollah and a rival group in August 2010
- And then there's the Turkish general who admitted to destroying a mosque on purpose back in 1974 in order to psyche out the enemy:
In remarks published in the Haber Türk daily yesterday as part of an interview with Gen. Sabri Yirmibeşoğlu, who led the Special War Department in 1971 and also worked to mobilize civilian resistance during Turkey's military intervention on Cyprus in 1974, said: “In Special War, certain acts of sabotage are staged and blamed on the enemy to increase public resistance. We did this on Cyprus; we even burnt down a mosque.” In response to the surprised correspondent's incredulous look the general said, “I am giving an example,” in an attempt to clear things up.
The Malam report asserts that the extensive use of mosques to store weapons and as launch pads for rocket attacks on Israel was part of a Hamas strategy based on the knowledge that the IDF would not target civilian infrastructure including mosques, which were therefore ideal for weapons storehouses and rocket attacks.In fact, The Malam Report notes that traditionally, Mosques have been used for military purposes since the time of Muhammad:
The Malam analysis is based on Hamas sketches of neighborhoods that show that mosques were used as sniper positions, Israel Air Force videos showing massive secondary explosions after mosques were hit as well as reports from IDF troops.
One mosque in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City was raided by IDF troops who discovered a warehouse full of rockets and mortar shells. During the operation, a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at Israel troops from the mosque.
On January 13, IDF troops raided a mosque in Jabalya in northern Gaza that was full of weaponry including an anti-aircraft cannon. In a mosque in the Atatra neighborhood in northern Gaza City, troops uncovered a secret warehouse built under the podium, from where the imam leads prayers, which was full of weaponry and improvised explosive devices.
The massive military use Hamas and the other terrorist organizations made of mosques has historical-religious roots. By the 7th century the prophet Muhammad had turned the mosque he built in Medina into a center for preaching, a place where political matters were dealt with, consultations held and appointments made, and where the Muslim army was prepared before it was dispatched to war and to attack the enemies of Islam. Muslim sages are of the opinion that the mosque is not only a house of prayer but that other uses, including military and political, are acceptable. Contemporary examples of the military and political uses made of mosques by radical Islamic terrorist organizations can be found in the Gaza Strip and many other places in the Arab-Muslim world. [p145 of report / p159 of PDF; emphasis added]Read the entire section.
This makes it easier to understand how it can be that mosques are targeted by Muslims.
And why this is unlikely to be the last time this is going to happen.
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