Israel and Gaza

My Lords, I am very concerned at the loss of life and violent activities on both sides. I have been to Gaza as well as Israel, and I ask that we actively pursue securing the ceasefire immediately. However, I will refer to a question that I raised in your Lordships’ House yesterday but did not get a reply to. Like many Muslims in the world, I was very disturbed by the Israeli attacks on the al-Aqsa mosque; to us Muslims, it is the third holiest place in the world. I have visited and prayed there three times. It is sacred, and I believe that what has happened is sacrilege. Can my noble friend the Minister comment on what has happened and perhaps try to ensure that it does not happen again?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon replied: 

My Lords, my apologies; I was certainly writing to answer my noble friend’s question. I too have worshipped at the al-Aqsa mosque; it is a sacred site for Muslims. Equally, as we have heard from the right reverend Prelate, the whole essence of Jerusalem is important to all three Abrahamic faiths. Respect for the historic status quo in the holy sites in Jerusalem is also valid. Any violent action, particularly that which was taken on the eve of Laylat al-Qadr, is extremely tragic to see unfolding in a mosque, which is a place of peace. We need to ensure that the sanctity of places of worship is sustained.