From The Independent, with thanks to RB.
Historic Mecca, the cradle of Islam, is being buried in an unprecedented onslaught by religious zealots.
Almost all of the rich and multi-layered history of the holy city is gone. The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates that 95 per cent of millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades.
Now the actual birthplace of the Prophet Mohamed is facing the bulldozers, with the connivance of Saudi religious authorities whose hardline interpretation of Islam is compelling them to wipe out their own heritage.
It is the same oil-rich orthodoxy that pumped money into the Taliban as they prepared to detonate the Bamiyan buddhas in 2000. And the same doctrine – violently opposed to all forms of idolatry – that this week decreed that the Saudis’ own king be buried in an unmarked desert grave.
A Saudi architect, Sami Angawi, who is an acknowledged specialist on the region’s Islamic architecture, told The Independent that the final farewell to Mecca is imminent: “What we are witnessing are the last days of Mecca and Medina.”
According to Dr Angawi – who has dedicated his life to preserving Islam’s two holiest cities – as few as 20 structures are left that date back to the lifetime of the Prophet 1,400 years ago and those that remain could be bulldozed at any time. “This is the end of history in Mecca and Medina and the end of their future,” said Dr Angawi…
The motive behind the destruction is the Wahhabists’ fanatical fear that places of historical and religious interest could give rise to idolatry or polytheism, the worship of multiple and potentially equal gods…