Why are the Saudis Demolishing Ancient Islamic Sites to Construct a Mega Mosque?

In what is certain to be one of the most bizarre stories you will read this week, the UK’s Independent details how the religious authorities in Saudi Arabia are making a concerted effort to demolish ancient Islamic Holy Sites.  While this may seem inexplicable at first, ultimately it may just come down to a power play by an oppressive religious regime not wanting any competition.  The religious clerics would clearly rather their people worship them in all their grandeur than let’s say the actual people that founded the religion.  Just seems like another attempt to cut people off from their history and culture, at which point they become easier to control.

The real inexplicable thing is; where is all the rage throughout the Muslim world about this?

From the Independent:

Just outside the western walls of the current compound are mosques dedicated to Abu Bakr and Umar, as well as the Masjid Ghamama, built to mark the spot where the Prophet is thought to have given his first prayers for the Eid festival. The Saudis have announced no plans to preserve or move the three mosques, which have existed since the seventh century and are covered by Ottoman-era structures, or to commission archaeological digs before they are pulled down, something that has caused considerable concern among the few academics who are willing to speak out in the deeply authoritarian kingdom.

Neither the Saudi Embassy in London nor the Ministry for Foreign Affairs responded to requests for comment when The Independent contacted them this week.

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 as the building collapsed.

The religious police go to enormous lengths to discourage people from praying at or visiting places closely connected to the time of the Prophet while powerful clerics work behind the scenes to promote the destruction of historic sites.

A pamphlet published in 2007 by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs – and endorsed by the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz al Sheikh – called for the dome to be demolished and the graves of Mohamed, Abu Bakr and Umar to be flattened. Sheikh Ibn al-Uthaymeen, one of the 20th century’s most prolific Wahabi scholars, made similar demands.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Full article here.

In Liberty,


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  1. I suspect that Pol Pot never really died. He is in fact alive and well and running Saudi Arabia, where he’s now creating “year zero” there after failing miserably in Cambodia!

  2. Good to know that us Americans aren’t the only ones getting assraped by our government.

  3. if i had to guess, i’d say that the grandson to whom you refer was none other than ali, the founder of the shia sect. and i’d further hazard another speculation: the sites to be destroyed and those already razed are affiliated in some way with ali and the sect he spawned.

    this would explain the absense of outrage. this shia/sunni thing is serious; far, far more serious than westerners realize.

    there’s supposed to be a 12th imam commin soon. at least, if ali has anything to say about it.

    it’s worth looking into; insofar as it’s an engaging story.


    it fits, even though it’s one of the most annoying songs ever recorded.


  4. Where’s the rage from elsewhere in the Islamic world about this desecration? Good question. I have to assume there’s a news blackout about this in Muslim nations.
    Hell’s Bells, from their perspective I’m a heretic, but I would know enough not to touch a brick on any of those buildings mentioned. Just out of respect. And they’re blowing ’em up with dynamite? WTF?

  5. Where’s the rage?

    Maybe, like the US, the large majority only get upset about what their authorities tell them to get upset about. The clerics there likely find the external enemy of the US just as useful as our leaders find them.

    Plus the likely news blackout Hank mentions above.

  6. I can’t believe so many people fall for this type of propaganda. Look at the writer and the audience. Do either know what is a “sacred” or “holy” site?

  7. The Saudi desecration story got buried under reports of the annual Hajj pilgrimage and Eid al-Adha festivities. The Saudis like it that way, too. Their austere and puritanical brand of Islam finds few adherents outside their country and their intended desecration will trigger outrage among all other Muslims. They are expecting extremist mullahs and undemocratic regimes in Muslim countries addicted to Saudi financial handouts to control negative reactions.

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