While salvaging Qurans from the rubble of the Al-Farouq Mosque in Gaza, junior imam Muhammad Hamad told the New York Times, ‘This is a house of God” – as though this proved the mosque is a peaceful place of worship. He said this after Al-Farouq had been targeted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on July 12. According to IDF spokesperson, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, intelligence indicated the mosque was used as “a Hamas rocket cache and gathering point for militants.” According to Hamad, “That charge is baseless.”
This debate conjures striking visuals – the military against the mosque, the Qurans amidst the rubble, and the young imam invoking the term “house of God.” Media outlets eagerly perpetuate this narrative however incomplete or inaccurate. The problem, however, starts at the very root of the story, with the mosque. Let’s explore what a “house of God” might look like to an average person living in a Palestinian-controlled neighborhood.
As the IDF targets terrorist sites in the Gaza Strip, more mosques will likely be destroyed. Waiting near the rubble will be Palestinians claiming these are merely “houses of God.” It is clear that as long as it is beneficial to use mosques as bases of terrorism, Palestinians will continue to do so – and to lie about it. Media outlets may continue to gloss over this reality, but how long will their audiences be fooled?
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