On a recent visit to Jerusalem as part of an inter-faith mission to the Vatican and Jerusalem, Dr. Nur Amersi of Los Angeles, CA describes her experience when she was asked to identify herself as a Muslim before entering the Dome of the Rock:
"It was 5pm and Shabbath services were going to start soon at the Hebrew Union College. My soul was uneasy as my gaze turned to the distant skyline of Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock beckoning me. Rabbi Diamond got an instant ulcer when I told him that I was determined to go through the Arab Quarter via the Damascus Gate. I slipped my prayer beads in my coat pocket and realized how privileged I was to be a Muslim as that was my passport to enter Temple Mount. The Israeli guards at the barrier were not to take the responsibility for ascertaining my religious identity. Two Muslim guards were summoned and after checking my California driver license asked me to recite Sura-al Fatiha. With my eyes shut and prayer beads in the palms of my hands, the beautiful words of the Holy Qur’an gushed out from the depth of my soul. They nodded, I followed, and we entered a small door and I could see Temple Mount. But it was not yet over!
Two austere looking men approached me and recited few words of three different Qur’anic Suras and I was asked to complete the verse. I passed the test and they profusely apologized stating that there were reports of foreigners plotting to blow up the mosque. I was not paying attention. I headed to the Dome of the Rock and took off my shoes. I could not stop crying. This is where it all began - God’s Covenant with humanity through Abraham who was neither a Jew, nor Christian nor Muslim and yet he was closest to God. This was also where Biblical scholars have outlined to be the site of the Holy of the Holies where King Solomon placed the Ark of the Covenant in the First Temple dedicated to our common Abrahamic belief in our One God. And this is where my beloved Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) on his divine visionary night journey, the Isra, ascended to the highest plane of Divine seat in the Meraj."
~Excerpted from Pakistan Link, February 16, 2008