The Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine built on the Jewish Temple Mount

The Dome of the Rock is a Muslim shrine built in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, the Jewish Temple Mount.

After Muslim armies conquered Jerusalem from the Byzantine Empire, Muslim leaders decided to build a mosque on the site where Herod's Temple stood hundreds of years earlier, the most sacred site in Judaism. It was a tradition to build mosques on what had been other religions' holy sites. Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount in particular, were, and are still, also considered holy by Muslims. Both Jews and Muslims consider Abraham to be a prophet and he is believed to be the ancestor of both Jews and Arabs. According to tradition, the Temple Mount is where Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac. The phrophet Muhammed is also said to have ascendeed to heaven from the mount, so the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque were built on it. Opposition by Jews to the building of the mosque on the Temple Mount was very small because Jews had been exiled from Jerusalem centuries earlier.

A few Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem and worship on the Temple Mount but they were later banned by radical Muslims.

When Christian crusaders captured Jerusalem from the Muslims, the Dome of the Rock became a church and the AL-Aqsa Mosque became a royal stable. When Muslims conquered Jerusalem for a second time, the Dome of the Rock became a Muslim shrine once again.

An image of the Dome of the Rock appears on a one pound banknote, issued in 1939 during the time of the British Mandate for Palestine.

The Golden Gate that was located on the Temple Mount was quickly sealed by Muslims, as it was believed that the Messiah would enter the gate and rebuild the Temple. An Islamic cemetery was built in front of the gate to prevent the Messiah from entering.

In 1948 when Israel was reborn, Jews were not allowed entry into the Old City of Jerusalem where the Western Wall, the only remmanent of the Second Temple stood. In 1967, during the Six Day War, {sraeli forces attacked Old Jerusalem and retook the Old City, including the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. Although the Temple Mount was back in Jewish hands for the first time in two thousand years, the Temple was not rebuilt and the mount was soon returned to Muslim control.

Today the area remains a focal point of tensions between Jews and Muslims. Many Jews expect that the Messiah will one day come and rebuild the Temple. Some Radical Muslims claim that the Jewish Temple's never existed in Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock has stood on the Temple Mount since the time of Adam and Eve, although this claim can be easily disproven.