On October 8, 2015, Rick Gladstone, Jewish York Times foreign editor, repeated Israel’s propaganda lie about Islam’s third most sacred worship place, Al-Aqsa Mosque built on top of the so-called “Temple Mount”.
“The question, which many books and scholarly treaties have never definitively answered, is the 37-acre site, home to Islam’s sacred Dome of Rock shrine and Al-Aqsa Mosque, was also the precise location of two ancient Jewish temples, one built on the remains of the other, and both since gone.”
Even though Gladstone amended his original article after he was ridiculed and insulted by former Israeli jail-guard Jeffrey Goldberg, Liel Leibvitz, Jeremy Burton, etc. by adding “Temple Mount” after “37-acre” – it still doesn’t meet the historical and religious facts. For example, calling the two temples destroyed by Babylonian and Titus, as “Jewish temples” is ridiculous. Israeli historian Dr. Shlomo Sand has claimed that “Jews were invented only a century ago.”
Islam’s sacred building on the hilltop is Al-Aqsa Mosque and not the shiny Dome of Rock. Al-Aqsa Mosque was built originally by Caliph Abd al-Malik of Umayyad dynasty in 890 CE on the spot from where the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) began his journey (Miraj) to have conversation with the Mighty Allah. Al-Aqsa Mosque expansion was done by Ottoman Sultans. Currently, it can hold nearly 3000 worshippers.
Caliph Abd al-Malik also built a separate structure to enclose a large piece of rock which according to Islamic traditions was used by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to embark on Buraq (Heavenly creature that looked like a horse). The structure also covers a small cave where the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said to have meeting with prophet Abraham. A large dome, originally covered with gold-plates, was installed on top of the structure by Sultan Salahuddin Ayubi after he captured Jerusalem from the Franks (crusaders), who used Al-Aqsa Mosque as a palace in the 1100s.
The Dome of Rock has never been used as a mosque. The five daily prayers have never been conducted inside the Dome of Rock. It’s a sort of historical museum. However, visitors, including myself, have used it to be part of prayer lead by an imam inside Al-Aqsa Mosque next door.
Rick Gladstone didn’t mention the small Umar Mosque built by Arab Muslims when they took control of Jerusalem city in 638 CE under the command of Caliph Umer bin al-Khattab (as) after cleaning the hilltop which had been used a garbage dump by both Romans and Christian Franks.
Rick Gladstone also lied that no archeological work had been conducted of the hilltop, which is under the control of Jordanian ‘royals’.
American archaeologist and author, Professor Dr. Ernest L. Martin (1932-2002) had conducted archaeology work in East Jerusalem. In his controversial book ‘The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot’, published in 1999 – Dr. Martin claimed that Muslim sacred places, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of Rock are not built on top of the Temple Mount ruins (here).
Several other historians in the past had made similar conclusion that the 45-acre landmass known as Haram al-Sharif to the Muslim world since 638 CE – is in fact a Roman fortress built by King Herold and the Jewish holy Wailing Wall (the Western Wall) had never been part of the second Temple of Solomon destroyed in 70 CE.
British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon discovered in 1962 that the entire City of David in the past had been only that little rock ridge on the western bank of the Kidron Valley. In early 1970s, Professor Benjamin Mazar, former President of Hebrew University too, confirmed that Haram al-Sharif was indeed a Roman fortress.
Last Thursday, in a letter to Netanyahu, leading Sephardic spiritual leader, Rabbi Shimon Ba’adani blamed the Jews for violence at the Al-Aqsa compound. He told Netanyahu that Jews are forbidden to enter the compound based on Jewish Shari’ah (Halakha), which forbids trespassing of non-Jewish worship places. Since then, Netanyahu has instructed Israeli Knesset members to enter the compound.