The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.
In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.
I often come across the suggestion, in the more neoconservative crevices of the Internet, that someone should "nuke Mecca". Well, according to London's "Independent", they don't need to bother. It is already being destroyed by the neoconservative wing of the Islam faith, the Wahabbis.The destruction of Mecca: Saudi hardliners are wiping out their own heritage
Historic Mecca, the cradle of Islam, is being buried in an unprecedented onslaught by religious zealots. Almost all of the rich and multi-layered history of the holy city is gone. The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates that 95 per cent of millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades.
Now the actual birthplace of the Prophet Mohamed is facing the bulldozers, with the connivance of Saudi religious authorities whose hardline interpretation of Islam is compelling them to wipe out their own heritage.
The Wahabbi sect originated in the north-east of Saudi Arabia and have since established their ultra-zealous views throughout Saudi society, including the religious establishment and the government. Put simply, they are the reason why Saudi Arabia is such a weird place.
One of their tenets is that there should be no memorial to any person, living or dead, as this could lead to idolatry. Hence King Fahd's unmarked grave (although who would want to idolize him, apart from Johnnie Walker shareholders, I cannot imagine) and the criminal destruction of the Buddha statues in Afghanistan. And the problem with Mecca in their eyes is that, being the birthplace of Mohammad and numerous of his relatives and followers, it is riddled with historic buildings and places. "No problem", say the Wahabbis, "we'll bulldoze the lot (and in their place we can build another multi-story hotel to cater for some of the millions of pilgrims annually. We may be narrow-minded fanatics, but we're not stupid)".
Most of the buildings have suffered the same fate as the house of Ali-Oraid, the Grandson of the Prophet, which was identified and excavated by Dr Angawi. After its discovery, King Fahd ordered that it be bulldozed before it could become a pilgrimage site.
"The bulldozer is there and they take only two hours to destroy everything. It has no sensitivity to history. It digs down to the bedrock and then the concrete is poured in," he said.
The problem with the Wahabbis' logic is two-fold
- Having a building that commemorates someone, doesn't necessarily usually lead to idolatry. Many days I drive past the Albert Memorial in London, erected in his memory by his wife, Queen Victoria. But I have never seen people prostrated in front of it, or walking round it many times.
- The Kaaba in Mecca, the large stone in the center, is itself a form of memorial to Abraham (Ibrahim), Mohammad, or even Adam. The logical extension of their views is that they should destroy it, but somehow I don't think they will. Logic is not their strong suit.
However this destruction is probably of academic interest to all non-Muslims, who cannot visit Mecca, unless they are trained in repairing Mercedes buses. For an explanation of that riddle, you'll need to read earlier posts!