Al-Aqsa Mosque. No entry without identification card
Diplomatic incident on Temple Mount: A Muslim minister from Ivory Coast, on an official visit to Israel as a guest of the Foreign Ministry, was required by the Supreme Muslim Council (Waqf) of Jerusalem to recite verses from the Koran before entering the al-Aqsa Mosque in order to prove that he is Muslim. The insulted minister left the Mount immediately.
Minister Moussa Dosso is in charge of professional training and technical education in the Ivory Coast government. His visit to Israel was part of the Jewish state's efforts to tighten its cooperation with African countries.
During the trip, which was deemed a success, Dosso visited welfare institutes and institutes for youth rehabilitation and professional and technical training in tours organized by the Foreign Ministry's Africa department.
The minister also toured the Old City of Jerusalem with an escort appointed by the Foreign Ministry, and asked to pray at the al-Aqsa Mosque.
As he arrived after the official closing hours, police officers stationed at the entrance to the site asked Waqf officials to approve his entry. The Supreme Muslim Council officials asked to see the minister's identification card, but he told them that he had left his passport at the hotel and was an official guest of the Foreign Ministry.
"My name is Moussa Dosso and I am Muslim. All I want is to pray on the Mount," he said.
But the Waqf officials were determined not to let him without an identification card. According to Dosso, they asked him to prove that he is indeed Muslim and demanded that he recite the opening verses of the Koran.
Members of the minister's convoy argued with the Waqf men, but Dosso himself decided to put an end to the embarrassing situation.
"I am a faithful Muslim. There is no reason for me to start reciting verses here. You have insulted me," he told the officials before leaving the place.
The Waqf was unavailable for comment.