If you are an academic or student interested in the Middle East, then this book is a must read! The recently released book entitled, "The 'Al-Aksa is in Danger' Libel: The History of a Lie," provides a superb analysis of the history of the Al-Aksa mosque, and how this once solely religious symbol has now become a tool used by many Muslim leaders in order to attack the state of Israel. Written by Nadav Shragai, a veteran journalist with special focus on Jerusalem, the essay not only draws upon extensive research on complicated topics, but is also written in language that facilitates understanding of such complex subject matter.
Throughout the book, Shragai examines the origins, purposes, and recent manifestations of the libel (that Israel is purposely pursuing archeological excavations under the mosque in order to cause serious destruction to, and even destroy, the site), and the subsequent consequences. Shragai provides the facts and then proceeds to analyze these facts to expose that this libel is made up of lies. Each chapter in the book discusses and analyzes a specific aspect of the libel regarding the mosque from the Muslim attempt to rewrite the history of Jerusalem (in order to strip the Jewish connection to the holy city), to the use of the mosque to facilitate and orchestrate terrorist activities during the First and Second Intifada. While complicated topics, Shragai presents them in a way that is easy and interesting to read.
Although a student of Middle East studies myself, I had never had an opportunity to truly research the Al-Aksa mosque and all the political implications that accompany it. Shragai's book not only gave me the proper foundational information, but he then expanded upon this foundation to examine exactly what the mosque was, what it has become, and the challenges that Israel now faces when Muslim leaders manipulate facts.
No personal library about the Middle East or the Arab-Israeli conflict is complete without this book...and a must read for those interested in Middle East politics. Academic, but quite an easy read, as well as a book about a truly fascinating topic.