World News

FACTBOX: Facts about Jerusalem's holiest site

(Reuters) - An inter-faith project launched in Jerusalem hopes to find a new way to share one of the city’s holiest, and most fought over, sites.

Following are some facts about the complex, known as the Temple Mount by Jews and al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) by Muslims, in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City:

* It is home to the gilded 7th-century Dome of the Rock, a fixture of the Jerusalem skyline, and built over the spot where Jews and Christians believe Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac to God before an angel stayed his hand.

The 8th-century al-Aqsa mosque also stands on the stone esplanade. Judaism’s Western Wall, a Jewish prayer site believed to be a perimeter wall of the second biblical Temple, is below.

* In Muslim tradition, Mohammad ascended into heaven from the rock at the center of what is now the Dome of the Rock.

* The Temple Mount is the most sacred site in Judaism. Jews believe biblical King Solomon built the first temple there 3,000 years ago. A second temple was razed by the Romans in AD 70.

* Muslims see al-Haram al-Sharif as the third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in modern Saudi Arabia.

* Christians believe Jesus taught at the temple during the Roman period and drove out money-changers.

* Israel captured the site in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it with the rest of East Jerusalem and adjoining parts of the West Bank in a move not recognized internationally.

* The compound is administered by an Islamic trust known as the Waqf. Jordan’s king also has a role in maintaining the site.

* Many, but not all, Jews believe they are forbidden by ritual law from visiting the Temple Mount out of fear they might tread on sacred ground where the faithful believe the Holy of Holies, which enshrined the Ark of the Covenant, once stood.

* A Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000 after then Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon visited the compound.

(Jerusalem newsroom)

For main story please click on