Essentially unchanged for more than thirteen centuries, the Dome of the Rock remains one of the world's most beautiful and enduring architectural treasures. Adorned with its magnificent gold dome and elaborate quranic inscriptions, the structure intimately represents the world's second largest religion in a city historically associated with the three Semitic faiths. Representation, however, is not the only effect of this site. Despite its intended purpose, the Dome of the Rock inherently stands as the focal center of a millennium-old religious controversy. Located on what is essentially the world's holiest site (obviously a speculative assertion) and inscribed with proclamations of Islamic religious superiority, the Dome symbolizes far
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As we turn to the general Jewish community (including its several fundamentalist sects, international Jewish presence, and primary Israeli base) and their perceptions of the Islamic edifice, we tend to find a much different meaning within the image. Considering its fixed location atop the most holy Jewish site, conventional wisdom may lead one to believe that the Jewish community observes the Dome as the most egregious spiritual travesty. As Hillenbrand describes, the loss of a sacred site can serve to severely demoralize a people:
"Building new monuments in the name of one's own religion
was always an exceedingly humiliating and painful experience for the conquered. The appropriation of the sacred monuments of another faith which are still in daily use, and their transformation, with the visible signs of one's own religion, is an even greater humiliation. It is more than military occupation it is an invasion and desecration of religious sanctity, trespassing on sacred monumental symbols of a faith."
To some extent, there is still a degree of humiliation and pain in contemporary Jewish attitude. Many Israelis oppose the continued Arab presence on the Temple Mount. When we look at certain