Changing essence of Makkah

Category: Faith & Spirituality, Life & Society, Middle East Topics: Makkah (Mecca) Views: 12055
12055

MECCA, Saudi Arabia - Five times a day across the globe devout Muslims face this city in prayer, focused on a site where they believe Abraham built a temple to God. The spot is also the place Muslims are expected to visit at least once in their lives.

Now as they make the pilgrimage clothed in simple white cotton wraps, they will see something other than the stark black cube known as the Kaaba, which is literally the center of the Muslim world. They will also see Starbucks. And Cartier and Tiffany. And H&M and Topshop.

The Abraj al Bait Mall - one of the largest in Saudi Arabia, outfitted with flat-panel monitors with advertisements and announcements, neon lights, an amusement park ride, fast-food restaurants and a lingerie shop - has been built directly across from Islam's holiest site.

Not everyone considers this progress.

"Mecca is becoming like Las Vegas, and that is a disaster," said Ali al-Ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington, a Saudi opposition research organization. "It will have a disastrous effect on Muslims because going to Mecca will have no feeling. There is no charm anymore. All you see is glass and cement."

The mall, which opened a week before the annual pilgrimage, called the hajj, in December, is the first phase in a $13 billion construction boom in Mecca that promises to change how this city, forbidden to everyone but Muslims, looks and feels.

The Abraj al Bait housing and hotel complex, a 1.5-million-square-yard development that will include a towering hotel, has begun to redraw the skyline of this ancient religious city.

When the project is completed in 2009, it will include the seventh tallest building in the world, its developers say, with a hospital, hotels and prayer halls. A public-announcement system pipes in prayers from the Grand Mosque across the way, and worshipers can join the masses simply by opening their draperies.

In nearby Jabal Omar, an entire mountain is being flattened to make way for a huge hotel and high-rise complex. And elsewhere, cranes dot the skyline with up to 130 new high-rise towers planned for the area.

"This is the end of Mecca," said Dr. Irfan Ahmed in London. He has formed the Islamic Heritage Foundation to try to preserve the Islamic history of Mecca, Medina, the second holiest city, and other important religious sites in Saudi Arabia. "Before, even in the days of the Ottomans, none of the buildings in Mecca towered higher than the Grand Mosque. Now these are much higher and more disrespectful."

"Abraj Al-Bait" complex, located directly in front of the Holy Mosque

Money is certainly one of the motivators in the building boom. Every year, up to four million people descend on this city during the pilgrimage, while a stream continues to flow through here during the year, spending an average $2,000 to $3,000 to stay, eat and shop.

Billboards along the way to Mecca remind investors of the potential earnings from owning an apartment here; some claim a 25 percent return on investment. Advertisements on Arab satellite television channels remind viewers that "you, too, can have the opportunity to enjoy this blessed view."

Muhammad al-Abboud, a real estate agent, recounts tales of Pakistani businessmen plunking down $15 million to buy several apartments at a time. Saudi princes own entire floors.

A three-bedroom apartment here runs about $3 million, Mr. Abboud said. One directly overlooking the Grand Mosque can reach $5 million.

Critics of the development complain that the result is gated communities where worshipers can separate themselves from the crowds, thereby violating the spirit of the hajj, where all stand equal before God.

"All of Mecca is a sanctuary," Mr. Abboud said. "So how could something like this not be snapped up?" But some groups say the building boom also has religious motives. They accuse the archconservative Salafi, who hold great sway in Saudi Arabia, of seeking to eliminate historic spots, fearing that these sites would become objects of worship themselves.

Dr. Ahmed of London has cataloged the destruction of more than 300 separate antiquity sites, including cemeteries and mosques. He says the house where the Prophet Muhammad lived was razed and today a dilapidated library, with its windows and doors shuttered, stands in its place.

"It is not respecting the Kaaba, not respecting the house of God or the environment of the sanctuary," Sami Angawi, a Saudi architect who wants to preserve Mecca's heritage, said of the development. "You are not supposed to even cut a tree in this city, so how could you blow up a mountain? The Islamic laws have been broken."

Progress has exacted a heavy price in Mecca. More pilgrims than ever can come here, thanks to billions spent on tunnels and infrastructure to accommodate them. But in exchange, the city's once famed night market, where pilgrims brought their wares to sell, is gone. The Meccan homes and buildings that filled the area near the mosque were demolished in the 1970s to enlarge the mosque. The neighborhoods and families who lived near the mosque and welcomed pilgrims have long since moved away.

Mecca has long been a commercial as well as a religious center, but increasingly global brands dominate here.

Mr. Angawi, the Saudi architect, has led a lonely campaign within the kingdom to bring attention to the destruction of the historic sites. Dr. Ahmed has worked to lobby Asian and Arab governments to press the Saudis to stop such demolitions. And Mr. Ahmed, in Washington, has built a database of the historic spots now destroyed. Many Muslims inside and outside Saudi Arabia have remained silent about the issues, they say, fearing the loss of financing from Saudi Arabia for religious institutions and projects.

Saudi officials say they have been painstakingly preserving the Islamic artifacts they find, and operate two small museums in Mecca. In all, they say, more than $19 billion has been spent on preserving the country's Muslim heritage. They dismiss their critics as cranks who have no following.

Developers and real estate agents, meanwhile, say the construction makes room for even more Muslims to take part in the hajj, and therefore serves the greater good.

That suggests that the changes are far from over.

"Mecca has never been changed like it has now," Mr. Angawi said. "What you see now is only 10 percent of what's to come. What is coming is much, much worse."

 

Hassan M. Fattah writing for The New York Times


  Category: Faith & Spirituality, Life & Society, Middle East
  Topics: Makkah (Mecca)
Views: 12055

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Older Comments:
REALESTATEINVESTMENTINSAUDIARABIA said:
The true spirit of the Holy land Mecca should remain pristine in the wake of developments. The construction is cordial if it preserves the sanctity of Arabia and especially the Holy place where Hajj is performed.
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FARHANAHZ FROM USA said:
Subhana Allah! What some Saudis won't do for money. I desmay to think what our beloved Prophet would think of this. How right was our beloved Prophet Issa when he said that "the love of money is the root of all evils". For me is looking more and more like the Saudis are not up to caring for Holy Makkah
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MARIYAH FROM MEXICL said:
Asalammu alaikum,
A very timely and needed article. It seems that the Saudis have shifted their financial schemes from oil to bilking their Fellow Muslims of their wealth. Remember what happened to the Mekkans in the time of the prophet (pbuh) when they used to bilk the pilgrims. May Allah (swt) deal with it in His time, for us, is on judgement day.
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MS SALIM FROM USA said:
La haula wa la quwata illa billah!
I just have one thing to say how come there are no malls and mcdonalds by the pyramid? or by the wall of Jews ...how come the Saudi (not Muslims) have scoop so low??
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A FROM USA said:
Why not build one of the greatest malls outside of mecca? then at least mecca wont be as busy and it will leave room for those who come to mecca for spirituality.

Its now, oh lets pray at the Kabah, and ill meet u afterwards at the mall, well eat mcdonalds and go shopping. And then well go on those amusement rides. wow :(

They're trying to remove your love of the Prophet PBUH) from ur hearts....
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ABDULRAZAK FROM USA said:
Assalamu alleykum ,all muslim Bros and sisters in islam..

WE.Muslims are all aware of the fact,that the costodian of the Holly cities of Mecca and Medina are the HOUSE OF SAUD..they own the whole country of saudi arabia..including the Holly cities and the Muslim Ummah in that country.and they are the best freinds of the west and their so called modern agenda..

The house of SAUD sold all Ullumaa for their FATWA..the Oil revenue goes to their account,they are the KINGS and SULTANS the rest is just subjects who have no say of anything but follow them blindly .

Today all muslims live under JAHILIYA state ,we have no justise and Unity and equality and we care less about the state of our affairs ..
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SYED ABID RAZA FROM PAKISTAN said:
A Muslim cannt do this and those who are doing this are not Muslims. Let me say that a forecast was made by the Holy Prophit in this regard which says "in my own words" that the Mushriqs will be at the door steps of The KABBA at the end of time.
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ABU SUHA FROM U.S.A. said:
This is very upsetting news. May Allah guide the true believers; those striving for HIS favor and put forth their best efforts to remain upon the siratul mustaqeem.
Those who have sanctioned the development in mecca have made an unwise decision. ahadith and the quran warn us of such behavior; i.e. foll0owing the ways of the zalimoon and mushrikeen.
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HUSSAIN AHMAD FROM QATAR said:
I agree with the viewpoint. The sanctity of the holy sites must be preserved at any cost. It seems money is now making inroads, thanks to the Wahhabi creed of Saudis.
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SHAFIQUE FROM CANADA said:
you are 100% perfect in critising the Saudia Govt for taking this step in Makkah.By the grace of Almighty Allah I had the opportunity to visit Makkah four times but never visited Prophets birth place because to me it looks like an insult to our prophet.
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YUSUF FROM USA said:
In the name of Allah,Most Gracious,Most Merciful...Salamun alaykum to my brothers and sisters that have stepped up and challenged this nonesense......
First of all the Wahabi/Salafi is quick to scream Bidah, Bidah....Innovation,Innovation about everything humanly possible....lines in a mosque...bidah!misbaha....bidah!!any and all things are bidah if they weren't the way of the Prophet(pbuh) and the sahaba,there children,and then their grandchildren....ALL OTHER GENERATIONS are out the conversation to them....Well my question to them....did these 3 generations, the salef as they are called see it fit to destroy the Prophet(pbuh) home for fear of shirk....did the four great khaliphs live a life of preference where they exploited the wealth they had at their disposal?? now these people wearing this mask of salafi....they're rasing up a building that rivals the skyscrappers in NYC directly across Masjid al-Harram!!!call me crazy but if that isn't BIDAH......i don't know what is!! Even the last home of the khaliphate, the Ottomans who have been demonized by the salafis never dared to raise any building in Mekka that was taller then al-Kaaba in height.....Allahu Akbar!!! brothers/sisters in Islam....please where do we go? how do we stop this catastrophe!!! I am ready to do whatever it takes to reclaim Mekka from the hands of the unfit back into the hands of this Ummah!! We'd better shape up Muslims!! this issue is an idication as to how low we've declined as a nation....May Allah help us first in uplifting our Ummah once again to its glory days and may Allah protect us from the rebellious!! Ameen
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QURSHIDA HAMIDON FROM SRI LANKA said:
I am just speechless too!! The holy city for us Muslims should be sacred. How can the Saudi government go ahead with this?? A true sign to say that the 'day of destruction' is close by i guess.......
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HASHIM IBN SHARRIEFF FROM USA said:
LO TO THOSE WHO SELL THEIR RELIGION FOR A CHEAP PRICE!!!!!!!! HAVE WE AS MUSLIMS LOST OUR MINDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH(SWT), AND THIS IS NOT NOT NOT THE WAY OF MUHAMMAD (PBUH).
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YOUSUF FROM US said:
It is ironical to mess about the New American "mamlukes", instead of being concerned about the slaves in our own midst. The 'slave culture' on which most of us are hooked on - a foreign culture - the Dubaization or McDonaldization, if you will. It is therefore, futile to expect anything reverent from such a mindset.
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ALFONSO FROM UNITED STATES said:
Assalamu alaykum,
Are we to turn to the days of ignorance? I am deeply concerned as a Muslim, as a human being and as an architect. The destruction of such important pieces of architecture and historically important sites with the false pretext that they can be worshiped is truly idiotic. Could they not use this same pretext for the kaba, are they to destroy it to? Audhubillah! Just the immense size of this project is ridiculous, and why next to the kaba? Who are they selling or leasing to? Are they going to allow people in kufr to enter makkah next so they can make more money? May Allah give them what they deserve.
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FADHIMA THIAM FROM USA said:
I am speechless and overcome by sadness and fury! a mall near the Kaba? How can this be? Is this the end of the Muslim world?

I have yet to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, but when I do In Sha'Allah, I believe that the last thing I would like to find there would be a Starbuck! We need to preserve our beloved holy city. Nothing can justify what is taking place..I really feel sad.
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WADDAH FROM AUSTRALIA said:
HOW ON EARTH CAN YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT BUIDING THAT SHAYTAN OF A THING.DO YOU NOT READ THE HADITH THAT SAYS ONE OF THE SIGNS OF THE HOUR IS CONSRUCTING TALL BUILDINGS.WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE AND WHAT GIVES THEM THE RIGHT TO DO THAT.MECCA IS FOR THE MUSLIMS NOT FOR THE SAUDI PEOPLE.MAY ALLAH HAVE MERCY ON THERE SOULS IN THE AFTERLIFE.
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MUSLIM BROTHER FROM SOUTH AFRICA said:
In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

I am indeed saddened that we are losing our heritage. I feel that part of being Muslim is knowing where we came from so that we can have a better idea of where we are headed. If our heritage is being converted into shopping malls, then what will our focus be as we look to our future.

I would suggest that the Saudi government should rather expend resources in educating the Hujjaaj about the dangers of committing shirk at historical sights, instead of turning a blind eye at Hujjaaj turning Starbucks and McDonalds into new forms of idols.

I would further suggest that iviews and other websites & international bodies set up public (or private) petitions to the Saudi Government to consult with the Ummah at large before they destroy any further sites. And futher, all destroyed historical sites should be reconstructed, even if it means that high-rise apartment buildings, hotels & shopping malls that were built in their place should be removed. The interest of the Ummah should take precedence over the interest of the investors.

The Haramain should also be restored. The Al-Aqsa precincts may be a good present-day example if we would like to see an example of how the historical essence of the Haramain can be preserved while still keeping a sense of antiquity. (minus the Zionist encroachment of course)

If the Saudi Government refuses to take heed, then they should be compelled, by taking the case to the International Court at the Hague, or trough another forum, to hand over custodianship of the Haramain to a representative international Muslim body, and then to pay for the reconstruction as well.

Was Salaam
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MAHMOUD ZEMAITIS FROM GERMANY said:
this has disturbed me greatly. If non-Muslims are prohibited from entering the holy city then how can there be non-Muslim businesses which profit from usury and sell unhealthy products which produce unneccesary waste? I thought the presence of american fast-food chains was bad enough. And yes, the emergence of sky-scrapers is a sign of qiyamah. The best thing for Muslims to do is to boycott these businesses completely when they are there. We should probably stop short of calling this idolatry (the american dollar, etc.)and a shopping mall isn't necessarily a bad thing but H+M, Starbucks etc., are not Muslim businesses and the Hajj should be a time when pilgrims exchange goods, not buy goods from large corporations. Allah help us, forgive us and turn us away from the errors of those who came before us. May the human spirit and the true ethics of islam be returned to the sanctuary..
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NASER AMEEN FROM USA said:
The end will come when the camel-herder raises mountains out of the land. - A Hadith.

Personally, I do not know about the level of "Sahhi" of this hadith. But whether it is true or not, it poses as food for thought.

While every mark of the beloved Prophet's (PBUH) residence in Makkah is being razed to the ground in the name of Wahabi puritanism, lingerie shops are propping up close to the birthplace of Islam and its Prophet (PBUH). Puritanism indeed! Mind you, Saudi Arabia is not a country strapped for land. I ask the Mall developers - why not choose a city other than Mekkah? Indeed men are blinded in their pursuit of wealth. If you have connections and the money, even the most staunch of Wahabi purists can be bought! So much for pursuing a Spartan life-style.

The Saudis and their Wahabi counterparts have literally hijacked Islam by their control of Mekkah. It is time, we Muslims stand up and claim what belongs to us. Mekkha does not belong to the Saudis just like the holy Prophet (PBUH) does not belong to the Saudis.

The noble Prophet (PBUH) said that Mekkah's thorny bushes must not be disturbed and its pristine nature preserved for the rest of posterity. It is amazing how men with money, power and a faulty idealogy are deluded into thinking that they can do anything.
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JIBRAIL FROM UNITED STATES said:
La haula wa la quwata illa billah! This news brings tears to my eyes. How can we stoop so low. Why in front of the kaba and not somewhere else. I actually hears of this yesterday and could not believe it until I saw it here. May Allah protect us from this ignorance.
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TAUHID FROM CANADA said:
This reminds the Hadith of Prophet (Saw)
" He has no worry with poverty of Ummah but had concern once this Ummah aquired wealth" As a Muslim I have complete confidance in Allah, that the place will be saved against all odds. Remember war of Elephent
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SYLVIAL HORTON FROM CANADA said:
I heard about the Saudi's making renovations about a year ago. There was a program here in Canada, and a Muslim brother asked why the Muslim community was so silent about the renovations going on in Saudi Arabia around the Kabah. I do think that many Muslims are asleep. Honestly, I do not even think that the community here even know what is going on. I even know some Salifis here in the West, and whenever I spoke to them about the issue, they made up excuses.
I personally do not want to go to Mecca, the Holy City for all Muslims (Believers) and see the West. As one brother stated, I live in a place where I see prostitutes, drug addicts, porn channels, etc. What is next for Mecca? It is time that all Muslims stand together and protest this insanity. Saudis have surely lost their way. The reason why they are getting away with this mess is because people are not standing and protesting. As one stated, Mecca belongs to all Believers. What Saudi Arabia is doing to our holy site is a shame and a disgrace. It is money and greed that is driving Saudi Arabia. How different are they than the West?
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N. CHAUDRY FROM USA said:
It is indeed sad to see that the only place truly representing the Muslim identity is losing its face. That too at a time when Muslims really need to feel linked with a solid base and do not want to get lost in this modern materialistic world where everything is about money.
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ABDUL-WAHID ABDUL-AZIZ FROM UK said:
Under no circumstances must we give preferences to economic considerations over spiritual ones in the development of Mecca. We all know that it is forbidden for non-Muslims to enter the city of Mecca. How come therefore that a fashion company like Topshop, owned by a jew and specialising in unislamic dressings is allowed to open a branch in the holy city. This is absurd.
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M SAQIB FROM USA said:
Aslamu Alikum, Interesting article. I agree with some of what the author has to say, that we should have tried as an ummah to preserve Mecca better, but the changes had started long ago, and now we are just seeing the tall buildings. At the end of the day Mecca and Medina will be holey and feel holey for the people who have eman and taqwa and will not for the people who do not have eman and taqwa, no matter how preserved it is.

The authors comment "You are not supposed to even cut a tree in this city, so how could you blow up a mountain?" I ask how they built in the olden times.. I am sure they cut down trees etc to build. Besides the prohibition is as I understand it for cutting grass, hunting animals etc without a cause... obviously ulema can shed more light on this ....

Also the authors comment on the Salfi's of Saudi Arabia just points out his stereotypical thinking, and shows me how closed minded he is when he is concluding that the archconservative Saudi's will destroy religious sites to build Disney land... I mean that is an Oxy Moron...

In any case there are some things that Mr. Hussain have suggested are absolutely correct and should be looked at ... but as a whole this article is one of those that is in line with bashing the Saudis' for every right or wrong.. Just because its now fissionable and the west likes it so I'll do it.... mentality..(Meaning bashing anything conservative in Islam)
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EMIR FROM CANADA said:
Subhanallah, what do the Saudis think they are doing. This is the sacred land of Islam and they are turining it into a tourist attraction. And a lot of this is purely HARAM, a lingere shop in Makkah, Astagfirullah. This needs to be stopped right away, Muhammad s.a.w.s. cleansed Makkah of haram 1400 years ago and now we are allowing this dirt in . I ask Allah s.w.t. to guide us and help us stop this desecration of our Holy Lands. Amin.
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SALEEM FROM USA said:
First the Saudi family went against Ottomans, killing Ottoman soilders who let themselves killed and did not fight as killing is forbiden in the holy lands then they made their huge tall palace and Hilton Hotel in front of Kabba.

Saudi family is the real enemy of Islam. But the real Devil behind Saudi family and everyone else is CAPATALISM.

Which sees no boundaries and and sucking blood from all. Destroying everything which comes in its way.

We need to focus and understand and move away from Capatalism , lean more towards socialism. Keeping our money out of our banks and a no loan No interest lifestyle. away from big Mac and support local family owned business pay by cash only policy etc etc. lean more towards green party , peace acitivist. Organic growers/ Natural growers etc.

A change of course is needed and it starts from your grocery list.
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BOHARI BIN MASHLI FROM MALAYSIA said:
In the name of Allah, please build it somewhere else. If you proceed, that the end of your kingdom. Allah forbid this act.

It better for you to build a good system of transportation, communication, toilet and so on for the benefit of the pilgrims. Not this building selling crap which has no value to Allah.

Please, please don't do this. Your kingdom will vanish in no time.
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ABDUL LATHEEF FROM INDIA said:
It is to be appreciated such a development in makkah that is only for goodness of the people and erning mony it is not prohobited in islam but also to live doung and performing hajj or omrah easly the developments had been started from anctioned days every years and will go throuhg the good way insa Allah ! no problem at all my dears , please dont make it is also some thing rwrong understanding such development is nessessory ....thanks ..
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NAVEED MALIK FROM USA said:
La Howla Wa Laa Quwwata Illa-Billa-Allah. I am shocked and saddened by such developments around sacred House of Worship.

May Allah (SWT) give all of us Hidayaah, Ameen.
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JALLEEL ALI FROM USA said:
It seems that we people have to understand. The battles were never finished the wars were never over, they changed, they just evolved. And in every battle as in every war there are winners and losers. We have to be truthful as we simply have to man up; we are loosing.

We often say I'm a Muslim or I'm a Christian but what are we doing that is Christ like or what are we doing that is Sunnah ( like the Prophet did)? They fought whether physically or mentally for justice, life or death, they fought. We cant fight because I may loose my job so I cant really say what I feel or well times have changed so it ok.

We are loosing I know we own businesses now. I know we are educated now so we can simply debate issues and what not. But who fights for justice? If we are to busy. They are building a freak show around the holiest place on earth ? They have us debating with are women that they don't need hijab because times have changed. they say its ok to drink a little and fornicate, maybe sit in the adult book store that they will build in your community and maybe your daughter shall want to grow up to be strippers.

Who are we? Who shall we be tomorrow? Who shall They make us into? Who is the they? Those with the money, those with the power? I thought we bear witness there is no God but Allah, or maybe times have changed. So debate. Be democratic. Be civil and watch it change all before your eyes. You see I see it. I live in Los Angeles were My World is a freak show. My Sisters are strippers, my Dad's go to the adult book stores and rent porn. My Brothers gang bang as my Mothers look like Twenty five year old hookers with fake breast. Yes I live in your future.
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UMM SARAH FROM USA said:
Bismillah -
First of all, thank you for this article. I did not know that there have been so many bad changes made to the city Mecca. I am totally against all of the recent changes to Mecca. And I hope that the powers that be in the area will not change Medina too.

By the time I and my family are able to make Hajj I hope that Mecca will not look like Disney Land...May Allah forgive us all!
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AYESHA FROM USA said:
When I made Hajj in 2004 I saw the beginning of
the stucture of this building in front of the
Kaaba. It hauntingly looks like the Empire
State Building in New York and next to it the
Twin Towers. I agree we should not allow this
most sacred place become an amusement park. But
perhaps its too late to protest. This should
have been stopped before it was built. May
Allah stop the return of idols to the Kaaba.
Our Prophet(Sal) destroyed those idols and
we should not allow this desecration to occur.
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AMJAD FROM U.S said:
i think that we as muslims are sleeping and we need to wake up and tell the saudis enough is enough. the saudis are a discrase to islam and they need to be stopped before allah punishes us a severe punishment in this world and in the after life. so please brothers and sisters wake up and protect our holy sites. i pray that allah would forgive us and guide us and gives victory AMEEN.PEACE BE WITH YOU.
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SOHAIL FROM PAKISTAN said:
Dear Friends...According to Ahadeeth...Greenery and Sky Scrapers in the deserts are the one of the signs of 'Qayammah'...Its not strange that its happening at the sacred place like Makkah.
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ALI FROM U.S.A said:
Assalamalaikum; It is very sad to know the destruction of Islamic heritage on the Holy Land Mecca. It is a big sin to disrespect Allah's sacred land. Astaghfirullah.
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ABDULLAH FROM US said:
I agree with the previous posters, Tasneesm and Akhtar. This is a great calamity and outrageousness on the part of the self-rigteous, arrogant, self-ser ving Saudi sheiks, princes, and royalty who have sold their soul to the dollar.

Bin Laden can now make a compelling argument about the unholy corruptness of the Saudi dynastic monarchy (unIslamic) and its enabling of the US invasion of Iraq (supposedly a fellow, brethren "Muslim state).

I will never forget as a college student crying in the middle of the night as US cruise missiles flew over Saudi Arabiia (who knows maybe over Mecca) from USS warships in Arabian Sea and Bahrain to hit the city of Baghdad (An Islamic caliphatic capital).

The sheikdoms have done many good and remain generous, but what good is generosity when it is tribal-based when we forget about our other fellow Muslims or when that generosity is based upon their suffering?

Is not a greater bond we all share our undelible belief in Allah and Prophet (saws)?

Under the guise of piousness these Saudi worldly pleasure-seekers have destroyed our collective holy sites that has been preserved for a millenia. Indeed we must all speak up and collectively rail against this corrupt regime (I'm surprised at my degree of anger). Lets clean up our own backyard before raising a darn finger at the "West" for the dire problems facing the Ummah.
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ROMESH CHANDER FROM USA said:
May be there are very rich muslims who are also big sinners. To absolve themselves of their sins, they need to pray and stay in Mecca year round; and these rich people demand facilities suitable for their rich lifestyle.

May be somebody will think of adding amusement parks like Disneyworld / Orlando there, too; people can pray and enjoy at the same time.

Funny, the article talked only about infidel currency (US$).
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TASNEEM ALI FROM USA said:
When Israel is constructing and renovating Al Aqsa Mosque, then we raise our voices, or Western society calls us terrorist, then we are upset but what abt us..only 7 response to something so important..yes we deserve what we are today..completely lost--how can we let Saudi Arabia be allowed to build something like this..we go there to repent and we have the rest of the world to enjoy..please lets join hands and raise our voices and we should print many articles to wake ourselves..Saudi Arabia has no right to do anything without asking all the muslims in the world and they should be condemmed by us all.
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AKIL ALI FROM NORTH AMERICA said:
This goes against everything I have come to understand about the Quran and what is states is importaint in life. Money is what is driving the death of the world. I was hoping that Mekka would not get touched before I got there. :( its a sad day
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RAYAN B,T,S,A, RAFAY FROM CANADA said:
While I respect the view being presented in the article, I think it is very emotional and not logical.

A) Commerce is a part of Islam, and the growth of commerce is not a bad thing, citing Starbucks is a poor attempt at swaying the reader's opinion

B) While the Kaaba must be protected, and the process of Hajj, there is nothing to make a compelling argument that the entire city of Makkah is holy

C) It is indeed likely that if we knew where the Prophet (PBUH) was buried and where he lived these would become worship sites

D) Investment must be made somewhere with Saudi Oil money, it is only natural the Makkah become the grandest city in the Muslim world, why not? Why shouldn't Makkah be our symbol of pride, with towering sky scrapers
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AKHTAR HOSSAIN FROM CANADA said:
Salaam, this is a sad news for all Muslims, childred of Adam and humanity in general. Mighty dollar has taken over the command of the all mighty God to preserve the sanctity of the holy city. The entire city of Makkah should be put as the world heritage city by the United Nations so this tyrant Saudi regime could not do this type of utter destrucion of a history that ties to over a fifth of humanity. We heard many stories of the experience our fore fathers had in their hajj but my own experience is so difference, I was sad to see all those high rise buildings around the holy place, buit them any where in Makkah deserts but not next to stones throw from the holy city. The abuse goes on and on to stop this all muslims should should raise their voice and save it for next generations to witness. I read the civility and kindness of those humble first generation muslims but seeing the lavish marble stores does not fit the story, it would be hard to make my childred to trust it even harder. Let God make Saudi Arabia to change and understand that Makkah belongs to all believers not just Saudis - the worshippers of money.
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SAID HOWARD FROM USA said:
Mecca belongs to all Muslims and therefore the Saudi government should have considered this an anathema on behalf of all Muslims. But again, Muslims are sleeping and their destruction is near. A man/woman who does not stand for his/her strong beliefs of respect to the Almighty deserves to live in infamy and disgrace. What is next? A prostitution house near Mecca?
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AMJAD FROM VA, USA said:
I just hope the Saudi Government will do every thing possible to keep the sanctity of the cities of Makkha & Medina nad avoid over commercialisation.

Amjad
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SYED YASSER-HAMID JAFRI FROM NORWAY said:
I have been reading about this destruction for some time now and it makes me very sad: not only as a muslim but also as a person interested in history. Some time ago he Saud government demolished the place of Ali al-Aredhi (Madina), grandchild of The Holy Prophet (PBUH). The simple reason of these places becomming an object of worship does not stand in our modren time.

But what frustrate me the most is that the muslim masses around the world do not know or do not care of this destruction. I wonder what the reaction had been if this had, God forbid, been carried out by Israel (se: al-Quds) - would the reaction be any different?

In the end the Saudi government can not do what it sees fit out from its own narrow minded views, be it commercial or religious, as this is the heritage of all humanity.

All this is comming from a person who do not even sleep with his feet pointing in the direction of the holy city of Macca. Just the thought of me or anyone els actually speeping above the holy place and the centre of Islam makes me sick and afraid of the Lord. This is very sad indeed!
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AHMED ASGHER FROM BAHRAIN said:
The Saudi govt demolished Islamic heritage buildings for fear of people worshiping these sites instead of worshipping God. Fair enough reason? How come they now build and trade in multi-million dollar buildings. Isn't that the worst form of worship? That is worship of money, hype and ego? And what of Starbuck whose presidnt is an avowed Zionist who has pledged publicly to donate a good portion of Starbuck profits to Israel. This defies all logic and pretty soon going to Mecca will be a dream that only money can buy. Question: Does all this please Prophet Mohammad pbuh?

ps. i don't know what i should vote for: i am for it or against it? against what: the sale of mecca to las vegas investors? or for such wanton destruction? better stay in the middle!!
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