Police accused of delaying visit by UK minister to Al-Aqsa mosque
Police were accused of holding up a visit of Lord Tariq Ahmad, the UK minister for the Middle East region, to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
The BBC reports that Ahmad, a practicing Muslim, was blocked from entering the flashpoint holy site for 30 minutes before eventually being allowed up.
The Islamic Waqf that administers the compound calls the move “unacceptable.”
“Whether he came as a minister or as a Muslim, he shouldn’t have been blocked,” the Waqf says.
Ahmad later played down the incident, telling the BBC that the hold-up was due to “security checks, whatever they needed to do.”
In an attempt to prove his identity, Ahmad showed police a tweet from yesterday by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, showing the two meeting in Jerusalem.
An honour & privilege to spend time at the holy Al Aqsa Mosque this morning with the Director of Jerusalem Waqf Department Sheikh Azzam Al Khatib.
I emphasised the UK’s ???????? unwavering support for Jordanian Custodianship of Jerusalem’s Holy Sites & for the Status Quo. pic.twitter.com/8Q1LM4qqsm
— Lord (Tariq)Ahmad of Wimbledon (@tariqahmadbt) January 12, 2023
Police did not respond to a request from the BBC for comment.
The Temple Mount is revered by Jews as the historic location of the two Jewish Temples, making it Judaism’s holiest site. It is also the third-holiest for Muslims, who refer to it as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound or the Noble Sanctuary.
It has been a frequent flashpoint in the Israeli-Arab conflict.