World: THE BURNING OF AL AQSA

SOON after early-morning prayers at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque one day last week, flames burst from the ceiling beneath its famed silver dome. For three hours, the fire raged, destroying part of the roof and an 800-year-old pulpit of exquisitely carved cedarwood and inlaid ivory, a gift from the Islamic hero Saladin (1137-1193). Before Israeli and Arab firemen could extinguish the flames or anyone could investigate the fire, the entire Middle East was echoing with outraged Moslem demands for jihad—holy war.

Al Aqsa is one of the holiest shrines in all Islam. It...

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