Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Exception | Palimpsest | Shared

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is a site of layered construction and demolition, with architecture serving as a mode of asserting power. This place is the holiest site in the Jewish religion, as it is believed to be the location where God chose the Divine presence to rest, where God gathered the dust to create the first man, Adam, and where Abraham bound Isaac. Due to its loaded meaning, Solomon erected his first temple here, and although both it and its subsequent replacement have both been destroyed, Jews still pray towards the site and believe in an eventual erection of a third temple.

Meanwhile, Muslims consider the Temple Mount the third most important location to their religion due to the fact that this is where Muhammad was said to rise to heaven. In the 7th century, the Umayyad dynasty commissioned the erection of the Dome of the Rock over the site of this miracle.

The Temple Mount is located within the Old City of Jerusalem, a city under Jewish control due to its location within Israel. Yet, since the Crusades, the Temple Mount itself has been under control of an Islamic Waqf. Both Israel and the Palestinian authority have claimed sovereignty of this sacred site, a crucial focal point in the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict.

The site forces two religions to share sacred space, while each claims the site is more important to their religion than the other. While a place of spirituality, the conflict has become politically charged as state lines have been untraditionally drawn by religion rather than cultural or ethic disparities.

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