The contested city of Jerusalem : City of peace or city of conflict ?

    26-May-2021
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Daryal Rocko Anal
Contd from previous issue
Initially, Jerusalem was also the direction of prayer for the Muslims like the Jews but later it was changed towards Mecca by Prophet Muhammad upon revelation from Allah. It is believed that it was in Jerusalem that Allah through Prophet Muhammad gave the second pillar of Islam i.e. to pray five times a day.
For the above reasons, the three Abrahamic religions have fought for control of the holy city. Crusades and counter-crusades, construction, destruction and reconstruction, persecution and expulsion of Jews took place because of what Jerusalem holds and means for these each Abrahamic religions. These three religions have been called Abrahamic religion because all the three religions considers Abraham as their forefather or patriarch – Jews considers Isaac, the second son of Abraham, as their patriarch while Muslim considers Ismail the first son of Abraham as their patriarch while to the Christians, Lord Jesus Christ is descendant of Abraham‘s son Isaac the progenitor of King David and Abraham himself was a man of faith called by God. As these three major religions of the world constituted majority of the world population as well as most of the countries of the world having majority or sizeable followers of either of these three religions (especially Christianity and Islam), what happens in Jerusalem goes beyond its wall and quietly catches the attention of the world.
BRIEF CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF THE CONTESTED CITY:
Since the issue surrounding the city has historical context, it becomes imperative to know the history of the contested city in brief for better understanding of the issue.
King David, the second King of Jews, founded the city of Jerusalem in 1000 BC and shifted his Kingdom‘s capital from Hebron to Jerusalem. In 960 BC, King Solomon (son of King David) built the first Jewish temple. The Holy Bible says that the Israelites also fought many wars against another Canaanite tribe called the Philistines (Palestine) who lived along the southern coastline. In 586 B.C, Babylon occupied the city and destroyed the temple and exiled many Jews. In 539 B.C. Persian King Cyrus conquered the Babylonian empire, including Jerusalem and allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild. The Jews built the Second Temple. In 332 B.C, Alexander the Great of Macedonia took control of the city. In 63 B.C, Rome captured Jerusalem and in 37 B.C, Roman client King Herod renovated the Second Temple and added retaining walls, one of which remains today and is called the Western Wall, or the Wailing Wall by Jews.
In around 33 AD, Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem by the Romans. In 70 AD, during another Jewish revolt, the Romans destroyed their Temple and exiled many Jews and later rebuilt Jerusalem as a city of their own. After embracing Christianity, Roman Emperor Constantine built the Church of the Holy Sepulcherin 335 AD over the spot where Jesus was said to have been buried and to have risen from the death. In 614 AD, the Persians captured Jerusalem but the Byzantine Christians recaptured Jerusalem in 629 AD.
In 632 AD, Muhammed, the prophet of Islam, died and was said to ascend to heaven from a rock in the centre of where the Jewish Temple used to be. In 637 AD, Caliph Omar captured the city. And in 691 AD, the Muslim shrine known as Haram al Sharif, or the Dome of the Rock, was built around that spot where Mohamed was said to have risen to heaven.
However, in 1099-1187 AD, Christian Crusaders occupied Jerusalem, claiming it as a major religious site. But in 1187 AD, Salladin captured Jerusalem from the Crusaders but the Crusaders recaptured Jerusalem twice during 1229-1244 AD. Then in 1517 AD, the Ottoman Empire captured Jerusalem and Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilt the walls.

(To be contd)