‘Mecca Today Is a Microcosm of Its Own History Replayed as Tragedy’


It seems only a matter of time before the house where Prophet Muhammad was born, located opposite the imposing Royal Palace, is razed to the ground, and turned, probably, into a car park. During most of the Saudi era it was used as a cattle market; the Hijazi citizens fought to turn it into a library. However, even to enter the library is apparently to commit an unpardonable sin—hence no one is allowed in. But even this is too much for the radical clerics who have repeatedly called for its demolition. Also in their sights is Jabal al-Nur, the mountain that contains the cave of Hira, where the Prophet used to retire for meditation and reflection and where he received his first revelations.

What I find particularly troubling is how few are willing to stand up and openly criticize the official policy of the Saudi government. Turkey, and the arch-enemy…

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