Photo Credit: Jamal Awad/Flash90
Muslims rioting inside the Al Aqsa mosque which was built on the Jewish people's Temple Mount. May 7, 2021

US Congresswoman Rashida Tliab (D-Mich.) stated that the Al Aqsa mosque is “equivalent to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, or the Temple Mount for Jews,” setting off a series of responses rejecting and ridiculing her statement.

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Tweeting on the Muslim Ramadan Riots in Jerusalem and the police’s attempts to quell the violence, Tlaib claimed she was seven when she first prayed at the Al Aqsa with her grandmother.

“It’s a sacred site for Muslims. This is equivalent to attacking the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, or the Temple Mount for Jews,” she said.

“Israel attacks it [Temple Mount] during Ramadan. Where’s the outrage @POTUS?” she demanded of President Joe Biden.

Tlaib’s statement demonstrates ignorance both in geography and theology.

The Al Aqsa mosque was built on the Jewish people’s Temple Mount. And Muslim regularly assault and harass Jews visiting on the Temple Mount.

Furthermore, the Temple Mount is the holiest site for the Jews while the holiest site for Islam is in Saudi Arabia, in Mecca. As she herself says in a later tweet, the Al Aqsa mosque is only the third holiest for Islam, and may not even be the location referred to in the Koran.

The US’ former ambassador to Israel replied that “unlike you, I have never prayed on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, because Israel limits prayer there to Muslims – no Jewish or Christian prayer is allowed. Israel bends over backwards to secure Muslim worship at Muslim holy sites. You are way off on the facts.”

Arsen Ostrovsky, an international human rights lawyer, posted a clip of Muslims rioting on the Temple Mount while desecrating the mosques and wrote: “Yes, so ‘sacred’ that Palestinians were rioting, smashing windows and pelting rocks!”

The user “Drew at Home” wrote: “Missing some key details here, Rashida.”

Daniel Laufer rejected her statement as a “blatant distortion [that] only serves to promote hate and violence.”

“A minority of hooligans shooting fireworks and throwing stones at people are violating the sanctity of a holy place. 10,000s of worshippers prayed without violence,” he noted.

Barak asked: “wasn’t Al Aqsa literally built on the Temple Mount after a conquering imperial Muslim army attacked and captured it?”

Eli Sennesh, a Ph.D. student at Northeastern University, pointed out that “the Al-Aqsa Mosque is on top of the Temple Mount. Jews are banned from religious practice of any kind on the Temple Mount to avoid outbreaks of rioting from worshipers at al-Aqsa.”

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.