December 26, 2011

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 discussed 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 of 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 Dec. 14-15 meeting.

News 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 West Bank.