In a recent scathing video report, the Al Jazeera network’s ‘Midan’ media outlet considered how ‘Islam’s holiest city Mecca is turning into Las Vegas’.
The report also explored why Saudi rulers have destroyed ‘95% of the historical sites of Mecca were completely demolished in the past two decades’.
It must be said that Qatar, which owns the Al Jazeera network including Midan, is currently at sharp odds with Saudi Arabia for a range of political reasons.
Source: Midan (YouTube)
Date: 29 October, 2018
They demolished the house of Abu Bakr to build the Hilton hotel,
and they turned the house of Lady Khadijah into a public toilet.
How is Mecca turning into Las Vegas?
The Hajj is considered one of the five pillars of Islam,
an obligation on those who can go.
Muslims believe walking in the footsteps of Prophet Abraham and his family, and reliving their trials, purifies them from all sins.
In the past, Hajj was for all,
yet not all people were able to go.
Before the mid-1950s, the number of foreign pilgrims rarely exceeded 100 thousand.
Today though, and thanks to huge developments in modern transport, and the series of expansions carried out by the Saudi government,
Mecca can now host up to 3 million pilgrims.
The number increases, and hence the (heavenly) reward, while on the other hand, so do the profits!
In the past, all were equal, in their attire, food, and the hardship of the trip.
As for today, there is a five-star pilgrimage, no need for hardships, as everything is at your service.
No need to go down to the Kaaba for congregational prayers, a small fatwa gives you the same reward for prayers in your room!
And if you hold a high position, you and all your personal bodyguards will do the pilgrimage, accompanied by a huge number of Saudi bodyguards.
There doesn’t seem to be a big problem with this, as leaders need protection, and it is the right of the rich to enjoy their wealth.
The big problem is that Mecca
is no longer the Mecca known by your grandfather,
95% of the historical sites of the holy city were completely demolished in the past two decades.
The house of Lady Khadijah was demolished, and 1400 public toilets were built in its place.
The Hilton hotel now stands in the place of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq’s house.
The historic Ajyad Fortress, a UNESCO-registered site, was demolished, and replaced by the huge Mecca Clock Tower.
The house in which the Prophet of Islam Muhammad was born, was turned into a livestock market, then into a public library that is closed off to the public.
Also demolished were the historic columns within the holy mosque, that were built during the Abbasid era.
Mecca today, looks like Las Vegas, with its luxurious buildings and its expensive prices.
One night in the Clock Tower overlooking the Kaaba,
will cost you about $5,000 during the Hajj season.
The most important thing…is spirituality.
Saudi Arabia says the construction developments are aimed at turning Mecca into a “smart” city.
While you logically question
what does “smart” have to do with destroying heritage,
you will discover something gravely important:
This city is called al-Diriyah,
it was the capital of the first Saudi state,
which fell in 1818,
at the hands of the Ottoman army.
The Saudi government today is restoring the historic sites of this city,
and in a “smart” way,
and in line with UNESCO decisions,
the old buildings and palaces tied to past Saudi statemen,
will be restored,
and a museum will be built too.
UNESCO’s conventions apply to al-Diriyah,
yet they don’t apply to Mecca,
about which “religious” fatwas were issued by senior Saudi scholars,
permitting the demolition of the tombs of some companions in it,
under the pretext of combatting innovation, polytheism, and the worship of graves.
and it’s cautions,
and the anger of Turkey,
did not prevent Saudi Arabia from destroying the Ajyad Fortress,
which is considered Ottoman heritage.
Therefore, the Kingdom protects the heritage of the ruling family,
while it demolishes heritage sanctified by the Muslims,
and transforms their holy land of the Qiblah,
into a huge complex of Western-style hotels.
The Holy Kaaba is almost invisible amidst the enormous buildings,
The famous Arab saying goes: ‘the people of Mecca (know) the city best’.
They know it best, if what’s left of it remains!