Canada’s Minister for Multiculturalism Tim Uppal, a proud, turban-wearing Sikh, visited Israel this week and ascended the Temple Mount, generating a tremendous response from Canadians who felt that worshiping at the Foundation Stone from the Torah’s Abraham, Isaac and Jacob should be open to people all faiths.
Uppal was photographed approaching the Muslim Dome of the Rock, built atop the original Jewish altar, and the picture was widely viewed on social media.
Uppal said that in Israel Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent speech in the Knesset, in Jerusalem, was well remembered.
“By visiting the site — which is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims — Minister Uppal has shown that Canada will not support any attempts to discriminate against worshippers, regardless of their religion,” the Jewish human rights organization said.
On Twitter, The Toronto Sun columnist, CFRB talk-show host and author, the Pakistani-born Indian Muslim Canadian, Tarek Fatah, was vocal, where he said “of course” he agreed with Uppal’s decision to visit the shrine, and noted that the “Temple Mount has far more religious significance to Jews than Muslims, yet Jews are barred.”
Fatah is the founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress to counter Islamism and the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in politics. He was twice imprisoned by the military regime in Pakistan as a student, was barred from working as a journalist, and lived as an exile in Saudi Arabia, before becoming a public intellectual in Canada.
On Thursday, Fatah told The Algemeiner: “The barring of Jews from the Temple Mount is a recent development enacted by the British in 1928 as a measure to avoid strife between the two competing communities of the city.”
He said “to suggest the site is holy for Muslims is a bit rich. In fact, even after it was built, the Dome was open to Jews and both communities would perform their religious ceremonies.”