“When there is a lack of resolve in protecting religious freedoms, it emboldens those who have no compunction about suppressing it,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ).
Men wearing the insignia of the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic trust) stalked and shouted at a delegation of US Congressmen visiting the Temple Mount, claiming that the Americans were not modestly dressed and accusing them of referring to the Jewish history of the Temple Mount.
“We walked up there, and were almost immediately approached by several men who started shouting,” Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA) told the Jerusalem Post. “We were tracked the entire time we were there and found these individuals surprisingly intolerant and belligerent.”
The trouble began when Muslim men accosted Elizabeth Jenkins, the wife of Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV), and said that she was not dressed appropriately, despite the fact that she was wearing long sleeves and a calf-length skirt. Police were required to disperse the tormenters.
The group continued on their tour, only for their guide to be interrupted by a man demanding to know if there would be any discussion of the Temple and insisting that the site be called the Dome of the Rock rather than the Temple Mount. Men wearing the insignia of the Islamic Waqf, which administers the site, also attempted to confiscate the guide’s maps and diagrams.
“When there is a lack of resolve in protecting religious freedoms, it emboldens those who have no compunction about suppressing it,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), co-chair of the Israel Allies Foundation’s congressional caucus, which organized the trip.
“There was an effort to completely suppress not only any expression of religious conviction, but any articulation of historical reality,” he added, saying the incident “shows the fundamental dynamics of the greater contention throughout the Middle East.”
The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism.
Dozens of Palestinian religious leaders, under the initiative of former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, issued a declaration last week stating that the Temple Mount is only holy to Muslims and that it is a “desecration” for Jews to enter the site. A Christian tourist from France was assaulted by a mob on August 4 for waving an Israeli flag. There were also riots attacking Jews on Tisha b’Av, the day of mourning for the destruction of both Temples.
By Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel
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