Saudis Accused of Razing Islamic Sites

Category: Middle East, World Affairs Topics: Saudi Arabia Views: 5887

Saudi Arabia has been accused of an unprecedented onslaught on historic structures in the heart of Mecca and Medina - the cradle of Islam, revered by the world's 1.5 billion Muslims.

During a meeting at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, world heritage experts called on Saudi authorities to halt the destruction of sites linked with Islamic history, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The experts also voiced concerns over the future of Mecca and Medina due to the rising destruction of historic structures.

They say it's feared that a number of historic sites will be lost permanently if the current course of destruction is allowed to continue.

"I call it cultural vandalism, of course we lost foreigner historical sites over the past sixty years, which will never be replaced again," Irfan al-Alawi, from Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, told Press TV.

Saudi authorities, however, argue that they are trying to prevent idolatry.

Necessary expansion and development, or wanton destruction of Islamic history and heritage - that's the debate forming around the current work of authorities in Hijaz, Saudi Arabia. The land is home to Islam's holiest sites, where millions of Muslims travel every year for the annual hajj pilgrimage.

A number of sites have already been destroyed, including homes and mosques dating back to the period of Prophet Muhammad (s). And there's now a fear that new projects will mean the permanent loss of earlier Islamic heritage sites.

The experts in the London meeting criticized the Saudi authorities for wiping out "Islam's historical heritage."
They also voiced concern about increasing commercial development in Mecca which "is destroying the city's cultural identity."

But Saudi authorities claim that they must remove relics from the time of Prophet Muhammad (s), in order to prevent people from worshipping them. There's also increasing demand for larger facilities as the number of Muslims from around the world hoping to perform hajj continues to grow, the officials say.

Some religious leaders say destroying the most precious sites in Islam for fear of idolatry is like killing a child for fear that he may grow up to be less than pious, or perhaps to prevent his parents from loving him too much. In effect, they say, behind the obsessive fear of idolatry lies a complete lack of understanding along with a fanaticism so extreme, it prevents such individuals from even being able to appreciate their own past.

Source: The Muslim Observer

  Category: Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: Saudi Arabia
Views: 5887

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Older Comments:
Peace be to you all. I read this article with great despair and anguish how Saudis are razing our Islamic history, cultural identity and monuments. I want to provide few details from my prospective a very frequent world travel and ovserver of history unfolds around it. Firstly I am not a big fan of Saudi Arabia and I abhore some of their social and tribal aspects in Saudi society just like any other society in different terms eg.. moral decay in western societies or rampant "Muslim Saint's(?)" grave worshipping in Indian sub-continents. Read this article is based on a report by Press Tv which is a Iranian government mouth peace of propaganda against Sunni Saudi Arabia - the arch enemy of Iran's Shia Islamic theology. The report did not provide clear, specific reference of the Saudi destruction but an oponion just like "Fox TV Opinion" reporting in the USA. All the monuments that Saudi Arabia has bull dozed is made my late Ottoman empire not original structure by the Prophet(SAWS) or his followers(RA) including the remaining current Madina Masjid we see is also a Ottoman structure not the original Prophet's(SAWS) Masjid built with date tree burk and mud structure. Abubakar's(RA) home whatever other structures are all Ottoman build structures. Do we need Ottoman structures in Saudi Arabia, because some of the Ottoman history is not Islamic for example "Herem" for keeping hundreds of woman for the king to enjoy, or their relic Jug/Cups to serve wine or beautiful gold - silk dress etc.. Islam is not safe with anyone today, Poor India/Bangladesh/Pakistan is full of Pirs = Saints(?) they worship their grave eg.. Azmir(Khaza Baba) in India, Iranians prefer to go holy(?) cities eg. Kufa/Karbala instead of Makkah, Afghanis to Mazar-E-sharif. Other Islamic history great "Taj Mahal" is not a Masjid but a tomb over a grave built by 20,000 slave labors "Islamic art" history(?) we need to teach our children. I am not saying destroy Taj Mahal but we need to understand Islam.. con

We need to look at countries around the world and see how ancient grave sites/ houses of
pious predecessors etc have become places of worship. We can learn from India, Pakistan,
Jordan, Syria, Egypt and the list goes on. Saudi Arabia, being the holiest site for Muslims, is
the only land safe from such idolatry. I do not think the Saudi authorities are being
paranoid when they voice this concern as millions visit their country every year. If someone
has other ways of preventing idolatry, I challenge you to use those methods in other
countries before criticizing Saudi Arabian authorities.

Assalam o alaikum
The development seen during past few years in the holy site are incredible. Intent looks very clear to facilitate the pilgrims for boarding and lodging. Our heritage is Quran and sunnah, thats what Muslims try to act upon. In the last pilgrimage of Prophet (peace be upon him) there were about 100000 plus attendance. Now this number is increased to 4 millioin. The obligated rituals performance can not be imagined without the expansion of Holy sites and development in the city. There are great scholars in holy lands from all over the world. The rhetoric here in the article is destruction of holy sites. In fact what the world is seeing is the development towards the betterment of these holy sites. There are loop highways/roads built around. Mina, Jamarat, Arafat and Muzdalifa whereever you go all necessites that you need are available. Yes at the expanse of demolition of few places of "historic value" not of the islamic signs "Shaa'ir". Lets work for unity and act positively.

Exremism at its best!

Please please find the article that say the Saudis destroyed the house of Muhammad [pbuh] to build a car park..No one objected or mention of it anywhere! except one Saudi or possibly an Egyptian engineer objected [Sic]

The fear of idolatory as basis for destroying relics of islamic history sounds a bit extreme. We often see people with little understanding performing unbecoming and probably even unislamic acts at the Sacred Mosques. We need to continuously educate these people, we should not destroy the sacred edifices! So also we should not erase relics of the islamic civilsation for fear of actions of ignorant people. Islamic history must be preserved for posterity. Why then are we spending millions of Riyals towards establishing museums of pre-islamic relics and of the Saudi history?

I get it. Saudis are destroying Islamic history and heritage in order to teach us idolatry is wrong and as always I love their intelligence!!!!


The reasons given by saudis for destruction of Islamic history and heritage are not acceptable.Some powers are behind this move as they want to erase islamic historical sites. By doing so our future generation will hear only stories like other religion.

Has prophet ever ordered to distry Ka'Ba since there were statues inside in early days of Islam? But he enlighten the people not to worship them. Why Saudis cant do the same thing as they claim to follow teaching of our beloved prophet ( peace be up on him).