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
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.
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.
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).