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Congressmen Harassed By Muslims on Temple Mount

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: congress, Muslims, harassment, Temple Mount, Jerusalem, crime, ethics, terrorism, usa )

- 1038 days ago -
Rep. Trent Franks, R~Ariz., co-chairman of the Israel Allies Foundations congressional caucus, told the Jerusalem Post the incident constitutes an effort to completely suppress not only any expression of religious conviction, but any articulation of his

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Gillian M (11)
Thursday August 13, 2015, 2:52 pm
JERUSALEM – A delegation of visiting congressmen claimed they were harassed and stalked by a group of Muslims Tuesday on the Temple Mount.

The offenders included men wearing shirts that bore the official logo of the Waqf, the Islamic custodians of the holy site, the congressmen said.

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., co-chairman of the Israel Allies Foundation’s congressional caucus, told the Jerusalem Post the incident constitutes “an effort to completely suppress not only any expression of religious conviction, but any articulation of historical reality.”

Franks charged the harassment “shows the fundamental dynamics of the greater contention throughout the Middle East.”

Franks ascended the site with Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pa., Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., and his wife, Elizabeth Jenkins, as part of a tour arranged by the Israel Allies Foundation. The foundation is an umbrella organization supporting 33 parliamentary caucuses around the world to lobby for support of Israel based on Judeo-Christian values.

Rothfus recounted the small tour was followed by Muslim men from the start.

When an Israeli tour guide took out a map of Israel, a member of the Waqf peppered the guide with questions and demanded to inspect the map to see if it contained any reference to the Temple.

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A video captured the Waqf official, speaking in Hebrew, explaining no materials are allowed on the site that use the term “Temple Mount,” saying only “Dome of the Rock” is acceptable.

“We walked up there,” Rothfus told the Jerusalem Post, “and were almost immediately approached by several men who started shouting. We were tracked the entire time we were there and found these individuals surprisingly intolerant and belligerent.”

Muslim men repeatedly tried to grab material from the guide’s hand and interrupted the tour several times, the congressmen said.

Rep. Jenkins said that after the incident with the map, 15 to 20 Muslim men harassed the group with more shouting, prompting the police to step in to “exercise their authority and let us proceed comfortably.”

Muslims at the Temple Mount routinely harass non-Muslim tours in full view of the Jerusalem police stationed at the site.

Holiest Jewish site

The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. Muslims now claim it is their third holiest site, although their stake changed several times throughout history.

The First Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.

According to the Talmud, the world was created from the foundation stone of the Temple Mount. It’s believed to be the biblical Mount Moriah, where Abraham fulfilled God’s test of his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac.

The Temple Mount has remained a focal point for Jewish services for thousands of years. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition.

The al-Aqsa Mosque was constructed in about A.D. 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al-Aqsa was meant to mark what Muslims came to believe was the place at which Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven to receive revelations from Allah.

Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible 656 times.

Islamic tradition states Muhammad took a journey in a single night on a horse from “a sacred mosque” – believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia – to “the farthest mosque.” From a rock there, according to the tradition, he ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque became associated with Jerusalem about 120 years ago.

According to research by Israeli author Shmuel Berkovits, Islam historically rejected Jerusalem as being holy. Berkovits points out in his book “How Dreadful Is This Place!” that Muhammad was said to loathe Jerusalem and what it stood for. He wrote Muhammad made a point of eliminating pagan sites of worship and sanctifying only one place – the Kaaba in Mecca – to signify there is only one deity.

As late as the 14th century, Islamic scholar Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya, whose writings influenced the Wahhabi movement in Arabia, ruled that sacred Islamic sites are to be found only in the Arabian Peninsula and that “in Jerusalem, there is not a place one calls sacred, and the same holds true for the tombs of Hebron.”

A guide to the Temple Mount by the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem published in 1925 listed it as Jewish and as the site of Solomon’s temple. The Temple Institute acquired a copy of the official 1925 “Guide Book to Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” which states on page 4: “Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which David ‘built there an altar unto the Lord.’”

No-pray zone

The Temple Mount was opened to the public until September 2000, when the Palestinians started their Intifada, or “uprising,” by throwing stones at Jewish worshipers after then-candidate for prime minister Ariel Sharon visited the area.

Following the onset of violence, the new Sharon government closed the Temple Mount to non-Muslims, using checkpoints to control all pedestrian traffic for fear of further clashes with the Palestinians.

The Temple Mount was reopened to non-Muslims in August 2003. It’s been open to non-Muslims only during certain hours and not on any Christian, Jewish or Muslim holidays or other days considered “sensitive” by the Waqf.

During “open” days, Jews and Christians are allowed to ascend the Temple Mount, usually through organized tours and only if they conform first to a strict set of guidelines, which include demands that they not pray or bring any “holy objects” to the site. Visitors are banned from entering any of the mosques without direct Waqf permission. Rules are enforced by Waqf agents, who watch tours closely and alert nearby Israeli police to any violation of their guidelines.


Gillian M (11)
Thursday August 13, 2015, 2:55 pm
“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.


Hilary S (65)
Thursday August 13, 2015, 6:18 pm
members of the religion of peace and harmony show their love of all humanity once again.

Beth S (330)
Friday August 14, 2015, 11:25 am
He was there to prove a point, and the Palestinians did a very good job of proving it for him.

Beth S (330)
Friday August 14, 2015, 12:54 pm
.(0)'s Anti-Semitic graffiti -- just before this comment, should Care2, in its usual attempts to cover up the overt nature of anti-Semitism that is part of the core or its political goals is becoming more ubiquitous here at Care2, BECAUSE CAIR2 does such an excellent job at kicking off those with pro-Israel and anti-Islamic ideology.

Witness the many people who have been kicked off for simply trying to present the Israeli side -- an almost always -- the true side of this conflict.

Care2 helps emulate anti-Semitism. One person claims she met some of the Care2 upper echelon and says that they are Arab.

The Muslim Brotherhood, along with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem worked closely with the Nazis in WWII. Nazi Germany bankrolled, trained, equipped and taught these Muslim groups the art of propaganda, which was used by Arabs in an almost identical way.

.(0). is a typical example of the type of "care", Care2 supports. Though they may erase it, they facilitate anti-Semitism in a myriad ways, including the subtle propaganda and lies of the Care2 Causes writers, let alone the preferential treatment of unabashed anti-Semites like Carrie, Jess, and the rest.

Care2 should feel proud that they have suckered people in with their care-for-animals articles, but try to play an important part in the genocide of Jews, and down the road, true Christians, Patriots and others that don't fit into the Islamist/Left alliance.

Danuta W (1250)
Sunday August 16, 2015, 11:06 am

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Wednesday August 19, 2015, 3:24 pm
Your article reminded me of an older version re trips to Israel – there are certain things which never get outdated it seems - and it looks as if nothing changed; it only got worse …Truly fascinating how ordinary Americans accept this mingling in their domestic and international affairs by a foreign state! Check out also this article

A bit an older article is this one but very valid – there are certain things which never get outdated it seems …

The hidden cost of free congressional trips to Israel

By Jim Abourezk January 26, 2007

Democrats in Congress have moved quickly – and commendably – to strengthen ethics rules. But truly groundbreaking reform was prevented, in part, because of the efforts of the pro-Israel lobby to preserve one of its most critical functions: taking members of Congress on free "educational" trips to Israel.

The pro-Israel lobby does most of its work without publicity. But every member of Congress and every would-be candidate for Congress comes to quickly understand a basic lesson. Money needed to run for office can come with great ease from supporters of Israel, provided that the candidate makes certain promises, in writing, to vote favorably on issues considered important to Israel. What drives much of congressional support for Israel is fear – fear that the pro-Israel lobby will either withhold campaign contributions or give money to one's opponent.

In my own experience as a US senator in the 1970s, I saw how the lobby tries to humiliate or embarrass members who do not toe the line.

Pro-Israel groups worked vigorously to ensure that the new reforms would allow them to keep hosting members of Congress on trips to Israel. According to the Jewish Daily Forward newspaper, congressional filings show Israel as the top foreign destination for privately sponsored trips. Nearly 10 percent of overseas congressional trips taken between 2000 and 2005 were to Israel. Most are paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, a sister organization of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the major pro-Israel lobby group.

New rules require all trips to be pre-approved by the House Ethics Committee, but Rep. Barney Frank (D) of Massachusetts says this setup will guarantee that tours of Israel continue. Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported consensus among Jewish groups that "the new legislation would be an inconvenience, but wouldn't seriously hamper the trips to Israel that are considered a critical component of congressional support for Israel."

These trips are defended as "educational." In reality, as I know from my many colleagues in the House and Senate who participated in them, they offer Israeli propagandists an opportunity to expose members of Congress to only their side of the story. The Israeli narrative of how the nation was created, and Israeli justifications for its brutal policies omit important truths about the Israeli takeover and occupation of the Palestinian territories.

What the pro-Israel lobby reaps for its investment in these tours is congressional support for Israeli desires. For years, Israel has relied on billions of dollars in US taxpayer money. Shutting off this government funding would seriously impair Israel's harsh occupation.

One wonders what policies Congress might support toward Israel and the Palestinians absent the distorting influence of these Israel trips – or if more members toured Palestinian lands. America sent troops to Europe to prevent the killing of civilians in the former Yugoslavia. But when it comes to flagrant human rights violations committed by Israel, the US sends more money and shields Israel from criticism.

Congress regularly passes resolutions lauding Israel, even when its actions are deplorable, providing it political cover. Meanwhile, polls suggest most Americans want the Bush administration to steer a middle course in working for peace between Israelis and the Palestinians.

Consider, too, how the Israel lobby twists US foreign policy into a dangerous double standard regarding nuclear issues. The US rattles its sabers at Iran for its nuclear energy ambitions – and alleged pursuit of nuclear arms – while remaining silent about Israel's nuclear-weapons arsenal.

Members of Congress may not be aware just how damaging their automatic support for Israel is to America's interest. At a minimum, US policies toward Israel have cost it valuable allies in the Middle East and other parts of the Muslim world.

If Congress is serious about ethics reform, it should not protect the Israel lobby from the consequences. A totally taxpayer-funded travel budget for members to take foreign fact-finding trips, with authorization to be made by committee heads, would be an important first step toward a foreign policy that genuinely serves America.

• Jim Abourezk is a former Democratic senator from South Dakota.
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