Jewish father, daughter arrested for 'praying' on Temple Mount

Thursday, December 10, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff  

An Israeli Jewish man and his daughter were arrested while visiting Jerusalem's Temple Mount a day before her wedding on Wednesday. Their crime: allegedly muttering silent prayers atop Judaism's holiest site.

The two were being escorted around the compound by the girl's brother, who regularly guides groups visiting the site.

As they reached the northern area of the Temple Mount to examine archeological remains there, a Muslim guard ran over and said he saw the father moving his lips in prayer and the daughter nodding her head in agreement.

Afraid of upsetting the Muslims who control affairs at the Temple Mount, Israeli police arrested both the father and daughter and took them in for questioning.

Speaking to Israel National News, the brother blasted the police for their weakness and for denying Jews the same religious freedoms as others.

"The fact that a father comes to the holiest place of the Jewish people and can be arrested simply for allegedly moving his lips is an outrage," he said. "The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the holy sites of all religions have to be protected and respected – that explicitly includes the rights of Jews on the Temple Mount. Jerusalem police continue to ignore that ruling."

Despite laws protecting religious freedom in Israel, Jews and Christians are officially forbidden to carry Bibles or to pray atop the Temple Mount, which is occupied and ruled by the Islamic Trust, or Waqf.

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