The long-cherished ambition of Saudi Arabia’s ruling Wahhabi sect to smash up the ancient buildings of Mecca and Medina is nearing fruition.Thompson writes that the lack of opposition to the demolitions stems from fear of the Saudis and their terrorist connections.
In Mecca, the house of one of Mohammed’s wives has been demolished to make space for public lavatories. His birthplace may disappear, too, as part of King Abdullah’s scheme to complement the skyscrapers and shopping malls with a Grand Mosque fashioned from the same materials as a multi-storey car park in Wolverhampton.
As for Islam’s second holiest place, the city of Medina, a recent article by Jerome Taylor in the Independent revealed a megalomaniac plan to pull down three 7th-century mosques. Taylor added: “Ten years ago, a mosque which belonged to the Prophet’s grandson was dynamited. Pictures of the demolition that were secretly taken and smuggled out of the kingdom showed the religious police celebrating.”
Maybe a contributing factor is that mosques are viewed differently than the way Jews and Christians view synagogues and mosques.
According to The Malam Report, put out by The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, from the time of Muhammad, mosques have traditionally been used for used for other than just religious purposes:
The massive military use Hamas and the other terrorist organizations made of mosques has historical-religious roots. By the 7th century the prophet Muhammad had turned the mosque he built in Medina into a center for preaching, a place where political matters were dealt with, consultations held and appointments made, and where the Muslim army was prepared before it was dispatched to war and to attack the enemies of Islam. Muslim sages are of the opinion that the mosque is not only a house of prayer but that other uses, including military and political, are acceptable. Contemporary examples of the military and political uses made of mosques by radical Islamic terrorist organizations can be found in the Gaza Strip and many other places in the Arab-Muslim world. [p145 of report / p159 of PDF; emphasis added]That explains why we read of Muslim attacks on mosques, and it may be an additional reason -- together with Wahhabi puritanism on the one hand and fear of the Saudis on the other -- why the Muslim reaction to the destruction of ancient mosques is so muted.
Still, as Thompson notes, this does not diminish the Western annoyance at
the hypocrisy of Muslims who throw a fit if Israeli archaeologists carry out non-intrusive work underneath the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, “Islam’s third holiest place”, as we’re constantly reminded. Such anger would be more convincing if the first and second holy sites weren’t being ploughed up by a police state. Likewise, are cartoons of Mohammed really more offensive than reducing the remains of his life to rubble?Maybe it's time for the Muslim world to pick a new narrative.
As one Middle East expert put it to me: “Jews disturbing the Dome of the Rock fits into an anti-Western narrative, so Muslims can cope with that. The Saudi destruction of Mecca doesn’t fit into that narrative, and so there’s virtual silence.”
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