Saudi Clerics Order Destruction Of Centuries Old Areas of Mecca, Including Ancient Columns, In Expansion Project

220px-Makkah-1910It appears that, while Saudi Arabia will kill citizens for blasphemy, they do not appear to have much respect for Islamic history or preservation.  Photos snuck out of Mecca show wholesale destruction of ancient sections of holy sites as part of an expansion project.  What is astonishing is the lack of any effort of preservation due to . . . you guessed it, Wahabi clerics who declared that the sections are better destroyed in the name of Islamic principles. It is ironic that, as a non-Muslim, I am outraged by the loss of such historical areas. Photos of the destruction were published here by The Independent.

Saudi authorities have ordered the demolishing Ottoman and Abbasid sections on the eastern side of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The “Grand Mosque” has long featured columns as the last remaining sections of the mosque which date back hundreds of years and formed the inner perimeter surrounding the Kaaba.

These columns were inscribed with Arabic calligraphy marking the names of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions and key moments in his life. Indeed, one of the columns marked the spot where many Muslims believe Muhammad began his heavenly journey on a winged horse.

The person in charge of this destruction is Wahabi cleric and imam of the Grand Mosque, Abdul Rahman al-Sudais. The work is being done by the Saudi Binladin Group – the kin of Osama Bin Laden and a close family to the Royal family.

It seems bizarre that the expansion (which is clearly needed) would not involve simple preservation of the columns and other historical items. However, an estimated 95 percent of Mecca’s original buildings have been lost in the last two decades. The principal reason for this destruction is the Wahabbi cleric views preservation of Islamic sites as encouraging shirq – the sin of idol worshipping. This “sin” appears to include even areas where Muhammad is believed to have sat and prayed. Thus, you will be killed in Saudi Arabia over a cartoon of Muhammad but not destroying centuries old archeological sites tied to his life.

Academics in Saudi Arabia have been struggling to preserve mosques and other areas also designated for destruction by appealing directly to the King. However, they are finding resistance from the powerful Wahhabi hierarchy in the Kingdom.

While the Taliban shocked the world by their destruction of ancient art and the two ancient statues of the Buddha called Bamiyan, the Wahhabis have shown the same contempt for Islamic historical artifacts and structures. What is astonishing is that such preservation is valued by non-Muslims who are not engaging in any idol worshipping. While I will never be able to see the columns as a non-Muslim barred from Mecca, I still want the columns preserved for history and for those Muslims visiting Mecca.

Source: Newser

25 thoughts on “Saudi Clerics Order Destruction Of Centuries Old Areas of Mecca, Including Ancient Columns, In Expansion Project”

  1. There are Muslims out there who are outraged by this wanton destruction of the most important historical sites in Islamic history. Future generations will have nothing left to see of the rich history of Islam. I have never seen the well of zam zam or the house of khadijah in my lifetime and feel deprived. As you enter Makkah the first thing that you see is the clock tower a monstrosity that towers over the Kaba as you sit within the haram. I for one would want to see the minarets of the Haram. Yes the expansion is needed as is the modernisation, we can’t forget that Islam led on some of the most important advances and brought about progress in a number of fields. The historical sites could have been preserved within the expansion plans instead of destroying them. Despite having tried to do something about the destruction it has had little impact unfortunately the Saudis care little about the views of others. They’re turning a place of worship into a commercial, holiday destination. It seems they have the status quo and can do what they like. However its encouraging that there are journalist out there who are prepared to question the status quo. So thank you Jonathan for you article.

  2. Islam does not teach destruction. The Quran’s teachings are derived from the Old Testament and the Bible, which prohibit idol worshiping. Wahhabism, which is little more than a blasphemous insult to Islam, takes this prohibition to an extreme and uses it to destroy the very places that us Muslims have held sacred. This is the real sin. It is tragic that our Islamic sites are controlled by the least Islamic people… We dream of the day when Mecca is an internationally controlled region, influenced by the democratic voice of all Muslims, rather than a few Wahhabis that do not represent our faith.

  3. Working Man Contributed:
    “Here’s an inquiry……I wonder what part of your brain has been removed….What a bullsh*t reply!”

    Yes, I agree. Your reply was bullsh*t

  4. Darren,

    Here’s an inquiry……I wonder what part of your brain has been removed.

    And then there’s the ever popular – have you stopped beating your wife?

    What a bullsh*t reply!

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