WND: But what about the previous Jewish Temples? Do you believe they existed? Do Jews have any historic claims to the Temple Mount whatsoever?
HATIB: We the Muslims believe that Al Aqsa was built since the time of Adam – God bless him. It was built 40 years after the construction of the Al Haram Mosque in Mecca which was built thousands of years ago. Al Aqsa was built by the angels as it is mentioned in a verse of the Quran. The mosque is mentioned in the Quran, which speaks about the raising of the prophet.
We believe that the Jewish Temples existed, but we deny they were built near Al Aqsa. When the First Temple was built by Solomon – God bless him – Al Aqsa was already built. We don't believe that a prophet like Solomon would have built the Temple at a place where a mosque existed.
WND: What you are saying contradicts reality. There is no serious scholar or archeologist in the world who argues Al Aqsa was built before the Jewish Temples. And if the Temples didn't exist on the Mount, what then do you say is the Western Wall? What do you make of all the archeological findings?
HATIB: About the Kotel (the Western Wall), we deny any relation between the Temple and the Al Aqsa Mosque. We believe that the Western Wall is part of the mosque and not the Wall of Lamentation, as the Jews say. ... The Western wall is an inseparable part of the mosque.
And all the historical and archeological facts deny any relation between the Temples and the location of Al Aqsa. We must know that Jerusalem was occupied and that people left many things, coins and other things everywhere. This does not mean in any way that there is a link between the people who left these things and the place where these things were left.
The Dome of the Rock, one of the most sacred sanctuaries in Muslim tradition, was build by the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik approximately on the site of the Temple in the late seventh century C.E., where it still stands to this day. The al-Aqsa Mosque (named after the "furthermost sanctuary" mentioned in Sura 17.1) is located further south on the Temple Mount. It was first build by the Umayyad Caliphs in the early eighth century (although the Caliph Umar cleared the spot and set up a rough structure there c. 638 C.E.), but it has repeatedly been destroyed by earthquakes and rebuilt. The current mosque is, I believe, about a thousand years old. This is all well documented in Muslim and other sources.
The Western Wall (to Jews, the "Wailing Wall") is part of the Temple Platform built by Herod the Great for his rebuilt and expanded Temple complex. This is well documented both in contemporary historical records and by archaeological and epigraphic evidence. See my post on the Herodian and Second Temples here. In the last week I presented a paper on Arab denial of the Jewish Temples at one of our seminars. I can see I really need to work it into an article and get it published.
Then there's this:
HATIB: The fact that Jerusalem is mentioned in the Torah does not in any way mean that the city was populated or built by the Jews. Everyone knows that when the prophet Abraham came from Arik in 1850 before Christ he was given by the Arab King Melchizedek the land where he and his wife lived in Hebron, and it was 600 years before Moses' message, which also proves that Abraham was not a Jew.
So Melchizedek and Abraham were Arabs. Funny that they have Northwest Semitic names. More here.
UPDATE (24 October): More here.