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  #1  
Old October 8, 2011, 04:21 AM
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Default Mecca for the rich: Islam's holiest site 'turning into Vegas

Historic and culturally important landmarks are being destroyed to make way for luxury hotels and malls, reports Jerome Taylor

Saturday, 24 September 2011



GETTY IMAGES
A £690m expansion of the Grand Mosque in Mecca has begun to accommodate an extra 1.2 million pilgrims a year
  • More pictures



Behind closed doors – in places where the religious police cannot listen in – residents of Mecca are beginning to refer to their city as Las Vegas, and the moniker is not a compliment.


Click HERE to download graphic: Mecca For The Rich (430.39kB)

Over the past 10 years the holiest site in Islam has undergone a huge transformation, one that has divided opinion among Muslims all over the world.


Once a dusty desert town struggling to cope with the ever-increasing number of pilgrims arriving for the annual Hajj, the city now soars above its surroundings with a glittering array of skyscrapers, shopping malls and luxury hotels.
To the al-Saud monarchy, Mecca is their vision of the future – a steel and concrete metropolis built on the proceeds of enormous oil wealth that showcases their national pride.


Yet growing numbers of citizens, particularly those living in the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina, have looked on aghast as the nation's archaeological heritage is trampled under a construction mania backed by hardline clerics who preach against the preservation of their own heritage. Mecca, once a place where the Prophet Mohamed insisted all Muslims would be equal, has become a playground for the rich, critics say, where naked capitalism has usurped spirituality as the city's raison d'être.
Few are willing to discuss their fears openly because of the risks associated with criticising official policy in the authoritarian kingdom. And, with the exceptions of Turkey and Iran, fellow Muslim nations have largely held their tongues for fear of of a diplomatic fallout and restrictions on their citizens' pilgrimage visas. Western archaeologists are silent out of fear that the few sites they are allowed access to will be closed to them.


But a number of prominent Saudi archaeologists and historians are speaking up in the belief that the opportunity to save Saudi Arabia's remaining historical sites is closing fast.


"No one has the balls to stand up and condemn this cultural vandalism," says Dr Irfan al-Alawi who, as executive director of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, has fought in vain to protect his country's historical sites. "We have already lost 400-500 sites. I just hope it's not too late to turn things around."


Sami Angawi, a renowned Saudi expert on the region's Islamic architecture, is equally concerned. "This is an absolute contradiction to the nature of Mecca and the sacredness of the house of God," he told the Reuters news agency earlier this year. "Both [Mecca and Medina] are historically almost finished. You do not find anything except skyscrapers."


Dr Alawi's most pressing concern is the planned £690m expansion of the Grand Mosque, the most sacred site in Islam which contains the Kaaba – the black stone cube built by Ibrahim (Abraham) that Muslims face when they pray. Construction officially began earlier this month with the country's Justice Minister, Mohammed al-Eissa, exclaiming that the project would respect "the sacredness and glory of the location, which calls for the highest care and attention of the servants or Islam and Muslims".



The 400,000 square metre development is being built to accommodate an extra 1.2 million pilgrims each year and will turn the Grand Mosque into the largest religious structure in the world. But the Islamic Heritage Foundation has compiled a list of key historical sites that they believe are now at risk from the ongoing development of Mecca, including the old Ottoman and Abbasi sections of the Grand Mosque, the house where the Prophet Mohamed was born and the house where his paternal uncle Hamza grew up.


There is little argument that Mecca and Medina desperately need infrastructure development. Twelve million pilgrims visit the cities every year with the numbers expected to increase to 17 million by 2025. But critics fear that the desire to expand the pilgrimage sites has allowed the authorities to ride roughshod over the area's cultural heritage. The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates that 95 per cent of Mecca's millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades alone.The destruction has been aided by Wahabism, the austere interpretation of Islam that has served as the kingdom's official religion ever since the al-Sauds rose to power across the Arabian Peninsula in the 19th century.


In the eyes of Wahabis, historical sites and shrines encourage "shirq" – the sin of idolatry or polytheism – and should be destroyed. When the al-Saud tribes swept through Mecca in the 1920s, the first thing they did was lay waste to cemeteries holding many of Islam's important figures. They have been destroying the country's heritage ever since. Of the three sites the Saudis have allowed the UN to designate World Heritage Sites, none are related to Islam.



Those circling the Kaaba only need to look skywards to see the latest example of the Saudi monarchy's insatiable appetite for architectural bling. At 1,972ft, the Royal Mecca Clock Tower, opened earlier this year, soars over the surrounding Grand Mosque, part of an enormous development of skyscrapers that will house five-star hotels for the minority of pilgrims rich enough to afford them.



To build the skyscraper city, the authorities dynamited an entire mountain and the Ottoman era Ajyad Fortress that lay on top of it. At the other end of the Grand Mosque complex, the house of the Prophet's first wife Khadijah has been turned into a toilet block. The fate of the house he was born in is uncertain. Also planned for demolition are the Grand Mosque's Ottoman columns which dare to contain the names of the Prophet's companions, something hardline Wahabis detest.For ordinary Meccans living in the mainly Ottoman-era town houses that make up much of what remains of the old city, development often means the loss of their family home.


Non-Muslims cannot visit Mecca and Medina, but The Independent was able to interview a number of citizens who expressed discontent over the way their town was changing. One young woman whose father recently had his house bulldozed described how her family was still waiting for compensation. "There was very little warning; they just came and told him that the house had to be bulldozed," she said.
Another Meccan added: "If a prince of a member of the royal family wants to extend his palace he just does it. No one talks about it in public though. There's such a climate of fear."



Dr Alawi hopes the international community will finally begin to wake up to what is happening in the cradle of Islam. "We would never allow someone to destroy the Pyramids, so why are we letting Islam's history disappear?"

Under Threat

Bayt al-Mawlid
When the Wahabis took Mecca in the 1920s they destroyed the dome on top of the house where the Prophet Mohammed was born. It was thenused as a cattle market before being turned into a library after a campaign by Meccans. There are concerns that the expansion of the Grand Mosque will destroy it once more. The site has never been excavated by archaeologists.

Ottoman and Abasi columns of the Grand Mosque
Slated for demolition as part of the Grand Mosque expansion, these intricately carved columns date back to the 17th century and are the oldest surviving sections of Islam's holiest site. Much to the chagrin of Wahabis, they are inscribed with the names of the Prophet's companions. Ottomon Mecca is now rapidly disappearing

Al-Masjid al-Nawabi
For many years, hardline Wahabi clerics have had their sites set on the 15th century green dome that rests above the tomb holding the Prophet, Abu Bakr and Umar in Medina. The mosque is regarded as the second holiest site in Islam. Wahabis, however, believe marked graves are idolatrous. A pamphlet published in 2007 by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, endorsed by Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, stated that "the green dome shall be demolished and the three graves flattened in the Prophet's Masjid".

Jabal al-Nour
A mountain outside Mecca where Mohammed received his first Koranic revelations. The Prophet used to spend long spells in a cave called Hira. The cave is particularly popular among South Asian pilgrims who have carved steps up to its entrance and adorned the walls with graffiti. Religious hardliners are keen to dissuade pilgrims from congregating there and have mooted the idea of removing the steps and even destroying the mountain altogether.





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  #2  
Old October 8, 2011, 04:22 AM
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Old October 8, 2011, 04:24 AM
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Old October 8, 2011, 04:28 AM
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Old October 8, 2011, 04:33 AM
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The "Saudis" need to be liberated from the House of Saud. A mysoginist, intolerant and greedy family that rules the holiest sites of Islam and then propagates its own version of intolerant 'Islam' by virtue of its petro dollars to the poor miskin countries like our own.
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Old October 8, 2011, 04:37 AM
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Its really a serious concern. May be in 10-15 years, Mecca will turn into a place for the richest people and only these people can afford to do 'Hajj' ! For people like us, 'Hajj' will only be a 'dream' !
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Old October 8, 2011, 06:47 AM
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I read somewhere (sorry, I don't have the source) that 8 bengali men were killed in Saudi by the officials in connection to the death of an Egyptian
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Old October 8, 2011, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Banglaguy
I read somewhere (sorry, I don't have the source) that 8 bengali men were killed in Saudi by the officials in connection to the death of an Egyptian
Ever heard of Google?

From DS:

Saudi Arabia executes 8 Bangladeshis



The Saudi authorities executed eight Bangladeshi workers on Friday in the country’s capital Riyadh for their involvement in killing an Egyptian man.



From the article:


Quote:
“Court proceedings in Saudi Arabia fall far short of international standards for fair trial and news of these recent multiple executions are deeply disturbing,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most barbaric countries on the face of the earth.
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Old October 8, 2011, 07:26 AM
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Its such a contradictory. One hand, Saudis are acting as Westerners, they lead their lives like Vegas life, full of fun, girls, money, gambling and on the other hand, they have this backdated punishment system.
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Old October 8, 2011, 09:49 AM
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Has ALLAH asked us to protect any shrine? I shared this post with one of my brother who studies a lot about Islam, he asked me "Where in Allah as ask us to protect any shrine?"
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Old October 8, 2011, 01:40 PM
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@Zunaid.
I'm on my PS3, and I remember hearing it on NTV. And no, I've never heard of google... Enlighten me
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Old October 9, 2011, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nakedzero
Has ALLAH asked us to protect any shrine? I shared this post with one of my brother who studies a lot about Islam, he asked me "Where in Allah as ask us to protect any shrine?"
What does this even mean?

Did Allah ask us to build a tacky, garish 2000ft tall Big Ben look a like? Did Allah ask the Saudi Royal family to fornicate and piss away millions of dollars every year on whores and alcohol, all the while pontificating about being the protectors of Islam?

This is history being destroyed...no one is going to go and worship at the house of the Prophets uncle, but that doesn't mean it is not of interest.

I can't wait for the destruction of Saudi Arabia and the Arabs as a whole...it is a real shame, the oil won't run out in my life time...I would have loved to see them go back to living in their tattered tents, while no one gave a f-ck.

The Arabs are like new money in Bangladesh...all that money, but no sense what to do with it, and suffering from a inferiority complex, they spend every waking moment trying to figure out new ways to flaunt their newly gained wealth.

Last edited by F6_Turbo; October 9, 2011 at 01:04 AM..
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Old October 9, 2011, 12:13 AM
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Saudi Arabia is one of the most Dispicable places on Earth! This land, it's rulers, people in charge and probably many of it's people are a Shame to Humainty, to the Human Race and Modern Human Civilaztion! I find Saudi Arabia and it's society and mindset very deformed, degenerated, very similar to the deep Apalachian In-breeding practicing groups and societies!
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Old October 9, 2011, 12:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bujhee kom
Saudi Arabia is one of the most Dispicable places on Earth! This land, it's rulers, people in charge and probably many of it's people are a Shame to Humainty, to the Human Race and Modern Human Civilaztion! I find Saudi Arabia and it's society and mindset very deformed, degenerated, very similar to the deep Apalachian In-breeding practicing groups and societies!
Hey at least they aren't harming anyone but themselves.
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Old October 9, 2011, 12:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F6_Turbo
Hey at least they aren't harming anyone but themselves.
Arrey Turbo dada, ki je Bolchen...wait til they catch/trap some lost,tired,unsuspecting, really stupid naive, stoned, innocent city travellers and then it's texas chain saw massacre/Leatherface all over again....and then soon it is "chomp chomp.".."Munnch Munch"
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Old October 9, 2011, 12:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F6_Turbo
What does this even mean?

Did Allah ask us to build a tacky, garish 2000ft tall Big Ben look a like? Did Allah ask the Saudi Royal family to fornicate and piss away millions of dollars every year on whores and alcohol, all the while pontificating about being the protectors of Islam?

This is history being destroyed...no one is going to go and worship at the house of the Prophets uncle, but that doesn't mean it is not of interest.

I can't wait for the destruction of Saudi Arabia and the Arabs as a whole...it is a real shame, the oil won't run out in my life time...I would have loved to see them go back to living in their tattered tents, while no one gave a f-ck.

The Arabs are like new money in Bangladesh...all that money, but no sense what to do with it, and suffering from a inferiority complex, they spend every making minute trying to figure out new ways to flaunt their newly gained wealth.
Bhai I'm actually talking about post # 2. But I admit and think the same way you do.
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Old October 9, 2011, 01:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F6_Turbo
I can't wait for the destruction of Saudi Arabia and the Arabs as a whole...it is a real shame, the oil won't run out in my life time...I would have loved to see them go back to living in their tattered tents, while no one gave a f-ck.

The Arabs are like new money in Bangladesh...all that money, but no sense what to do with it, and suffering from a inferiority complex, they spend every waking moment trying to figure out new ways to flaunt their newly gained wealth.
I used to defend Saudis when people hated them after 9-11. Now 10 years later, I echo everything you say.

The only thing good about that country is Makka and Madina

But there is so much injustice, so much distortion of Islam, so much hatred, so much racism, its one of the worst countries of the Ummah.

And their oil money is simply allowing them to do what they want.
They rape their maids and no one can do anything. They kill 8 bangladeshis for 1 supposed murder and you cant do anything. They whip any foreigner they want to and are not punished
Imagine they started a monorail last year for Hujjaj and restricted it to only Gulf Arabs !

And if all that wasnt enough, they are implementing naked capitalism in Makka, building luxury hotels and sending prices skyrocketing.
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Old October 9, 2011, 01:29 AM
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This is Saudi Arabia for you
http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article340993.ece

A court in Madinah acquitted on Saturday a Saudi woman who was sentenced in January to three years in prison for severely torturing her Indonesian housemaid. The sitting judge said there was no evidence that the 53-year-old woman tortured her maid, Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa, 23, while her lawyer said he would seek damages for his client.
During the hearing, the Saudi woman “denied everything, saying that the maid had beaten herself,”
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Old October 9, 2011, 01:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Banglatiger84
I used to defend Saudis when people hated them after 9-11. Now 10 years later, I echo everything you say.

The only thing good about that country is Makka and Madina

But there is so much injustice, so much distortion of Islam, so much hatred, so much racism, its one of the worst countries of the Ummah.

And their oil money is simply allowing them to do what they want.
They rape their maids and no one can do anything. They kill 8 bangladeshis for 1 supposed murder and you cant do anything. They whip any foreigner they want to and are not punished
Imagine they started a monorail last year for Hujjaj and restricted it to only Gulf Arabs !

And if all that wasnt enough, they are implementing naked capitalism in Makka, building luxury hotels and sending prices skyrocketing.
Hah...I try not to hate without strong reasons and or personal experience. I hate our Saudi 'brothers' because of what I've seen and experienced 1st hand. It's a real struggle coming up with a worse ruling family/party at the moment.

And they get a pass on everything, because of the oil.
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Old October 9, 2011, 02:26 AM
Banglatiger84 Banglatiger84 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F6_Turbo
Hah...I try not to hate without strong reasons and or personal experience. I hate our Saudi 'brothers' because of what I've seen and experienced 1st hand. It's a real struggle coming up with a worse ruling family/party at the moment.

And they get a pass on everything, because of the oil.
Not only oil.

They get a pass from the West because of oil, and from the Muslim world because of Makka and Madina,

I have heard from some of our counterparts "thank, ora Mokkar manush, nishchoy ora bhul kichhu korbe na" or 'oi desh theke rasul eshechhilen, oderke shomman kora dorkar" etc .
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Old October 9, 2011, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Banglatiger84
Not only oil.

They get a pass from the West because of oil, and from the Muslim world because of Makka and Madina,

I have heard from some of our counterparts "thank, ora Mokkar manush, nishchoy ora bhul kichhu korbe na" or 'oi desh theke rasul eshechhilen, oderke shomman kora dorkar" etc
.


I too agree that this is a grave misconception. There is no nationalism or Racism in Islam.

True respect comes from Allah not from the people. it is the deeds in the sight of Allah which value more than language or appearance...

ever heard of the book called "The sealed nectar"...this book won first prize in a competition for comprehensive biography of Prophet Mohammad(SalAllahu A'laihe wasallam) held in Saudi Arabia about 32 years ago....do you know the gentlemen who wrote this book and where is he from...he was born in INDIA....not Saudi Arabia....and his mother tongue was not Arabic(even though he spoke it, and initially wrote the book in arabic)

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Old October 9, 2011, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Banglatiger84
During the hearing, the Saudi woman “denied everything, saying that the maid had beaten herself,”
Okay, seriously, who is idiotic enough to believe this? It's like this:
Student walks into class with a black eye. Teacher ask's, "Who did that?". The student replies "My father". The teacher calls in the father and asks if he did and why. The father would reply (in this sense) ''My son beat himself". The teacher asks why, the father replies "cos he got up one day and decided to punch himself".
Seriously, Occam's Razor would completely blow this argument away.
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Old October 9, 2011, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zunaid
Ever heard of Google?

From DS:

Saudi Arabia executes 8 Bangladeshis



The Saudi authorities executed eight Bangladeshi workers on Friday in the country’s capital Riyadh for their involvement in killing an Egyptian man.



From the article:





Saudi Arabia is one of the most barbaric countries on the face of the earth.
Omg at this! May God curse them saudis, Ameen!!! saudis are money hunger, evil, backward, b*****!!
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Old October 9, 2011, 05:45 PM
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The destrucution of heritage in Mecca is quite terrible... it shows that there is no adult in charge. When I looked at that picture of the big hotel with clock tower near the site of pilgrimage... i was very disgusted.
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Old October 9, 2011, 05:49 PM
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From DS:

Saudi Arabia executes 8 Bangladeshis



The Saudi authorities executed eight Bangladeshi workers on Friday in the country’s capital Riyadh for their involvement in killing an Egyptian man.



From the article:





Saudi Arabia is one of the most barbaric countries on the face of the earth.[/QUOTE]


Read somewhere recently on the net that a Pakistani woman got raped by a Saudi Arabian man in Saudi Arabia and the guy got away with it and didn't get punished but the Pakistani girl was jailed for 6months.


I use to respect Saudi Arabia (not any more), when I was bit naive under-16 years old (now am in the 20s and Alhamdulilah not that naive anymore LOL..), anyway, I use to think they were good people, that's where our beloved Nabbi is from and use to think they are/will-be best of musalmans but that isnt the case as I got to know/study how Saudi Arabia is like!.
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