Occupied Jerusalem- The move to remove the dome of the minaret of the Jerusalem Citadel (located on the southwestern side of the Old City) and the crescent above it aroused the ire of Jerusalemites, who noticed the tampering with this archaeological landmark as they passed through the area adjacent to the historic wall of Jerusalem, which they call “Jouret al-Annab.”
As soon as the dome and crescent were removed under the supervision of the so-called “Israeli Antiquities Authority”, contacts poured in on the management of the museum located in the Citadel of Jerusalem, which responded to inquiries through its website with the following:
“The Tower of David Museum is currently undergoing a comprehensive restoration process at a cost of $50 million. After engineering tests conducted for the minaret, which was built in 1635, cracks have been identified in the structure that may have been caused by seismic activity over the years.”
In light of this, the museum administration says that it has initiated the restoration work of the minaret, and these days the final phase of the restoration project, which includes installing the minaret, is being implemented.
“We must ensure that the castle continues to exist throughout the centuries, so the project will repair the damage that occurred over time and the problems arising from the natural wear and tear of the castle’s stones,” said the museum’s director and curator, Eilat Liber.
series of violations
On the ground, the picture does not look as rosy as the administration of the Citadel Museum describes it, as Jerusalemites witnessed a series of violations that were not limited to restoration work, but rather extended to obliterating everything that indicates the different Islamic eras that passed through this place, and attempts to hide Islamic symbols and sometimes even steal them.
While he was engaged in his work in the maintenance department in the castle, Al-Jazeera Net met a Jerusalemite who had been working in the place for 4 decades, and had attempts to protect Islamic holdings by hiding them in the basements of the castle.
Al-Maqdisi (who refused to reveal his name) said that all the stories presented to the visitors of the castle – whose number exceeded two million annually before the Corona pandemic – falsify the facts and distort the Islamic eras that followed in Jerusalem.
While talking about the historical mihrab and minbar located inside one of the exhibition halls, the man cried and said that he had learned one day that the “Israeli Antiquities Authority” intended to steal 4 ancient stone columns from in front of the minbar, so he carried them and hid them under cardboard boxes and huge plastic bags inside the castle’s catacombs.
The elderly employee tried to protect the holdings that were subject to theft at times and the mosque’s features that were distorted by the exhibits at other times, by going to Islamic religious authorities and the Endowment Department, but the response was, “Nothing can be changed.”
Distorting facts since the occupation
Radwan Amr, a researcher on Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque affairs, says that the Jerusalem Citadel Museum is one of 4 main centers in the Old City and its environs. Together, these centers constitute a “brainwashing system” for the emerging Jewish generation and tourists who listen to the distorted biblical narrative of the facts inside.
The origin of the construction of the Jerusalem Citadel dates back to the Roman period, and it was repeatedly renovated in later eras, and the Ottomans left clear fingerprints on it for their interest in its reconstruction, according to the researcher Amr, who confirmed that the Companions cared about the reconstruction of this castle since the Islamic conquest and focused attention on it until the end of the Ottoman period.
With the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel took control of the Citadel and turned it into a museum called the “Tower of David” or “Jerusalem History Museum”. Prayers were prohibited directly in the two mosques of the Citadel located near the Hebron Gate (one of the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem).
An exhibition hall inside the mosque
The occupation turned one of the two mosques into an exhibition hall belonging to the museum, despite the presence of a mihrab and a minbar inside, and this mosque was the only mosque other than Al-Aqsa Mosque in the city of Jerusalem during the Ottoman period.
In the details, Radwan Amr explains that “this mosque was allowed to be a mosque in which Friday prayers are held, so that not all Ottoman soldiers leave from the castle to Al-Aqsa and a number of them remain inside. In an attempt to obliterate this history, the occupation authorities claim today that they are carrying out restoration operations for the minaret of this mosque.” By erecting iron platforms and removing part of the minaret, but in fact they are messing with it without any Islamic supervision or control.”
In the hall of the Citadel Mosque, the visitor finds Crusader statues, sculptures, and audio-visual light shows that adopt the biblical narrative, marginalize the correct Islamic narrative, and focus on what is called the “period of the first and second temples,” according to the Talmudic narrative.
The Maqdisi researcher added that the administration of the museum, which opened in 1989, claims to tell through it the story of the city of Jerusalem that extends 3,000 years ago, but in fact it deliberately ignores many facts that indicate the Arabism and Islam of the holy city.
The occupation removes the dome and crescent from the minaret of the Al-Quds Citadel Mosque in the Hebron Gate. pic.twitter.com/Fpm3Nc5aN8
– Shehab News Agency (@ShehabAgency) November 22, 2022
The museum administration claims in one of its narrations – for example – that the leader Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi was harsh in his dealings with the Crusaders when he conquered Jerusalem, as he stopped them in lines to collect tribute from them.
Researcher Amr points out that the museum does not mention the Arabs, nor does it deal with Jerusalem during the periods when the Islamic presence flourished for 1400 years.
The museum conducts tours of sites outside the castle, and produces tour guides specialized in the biblical narrative, and they are active in erasing and distorting the true identity of the place.
It is noteworthy that the occupation calls the castle “David’s Citadel” and attributes it to the Prophet David, peace be upon him, but the Jerusalemite researcher refutes this narration, saying that the castle has nothing to do with the person of the Prophet David, and its correct name is “Jerusalem Citadel”, which has passed through many eras, and its current form has nothing to do with it. Which of the prophets.