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.