The cultural devastation of Mecca has radically transformed the city. Unlike Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, Mecca was never a great intellectual and cultural center of Islam. But it was always a pluralistic city where debate among different Muslim sects and schools of thought was not unusual. Now it has been reduced to a monolithic religious entity where only one, ahistoric, literal interpretation of Islam is permitted, and where all other sects, outside of the Salafist brand of Saudi Islam, are regarded as false. Indeed, zealots frequently threaten pilgrims of different sects. Last year, a group of Shiite pilgrims from Michigan were attacked with knives by extremists, and in August, a coalition of American Muslim groups wrote to the State Department asking for protection during this year’s hajj.The erasure of Meccan history has had a tremendous impact on the hajj itself. The word “hajj” means effort. It is through the effort of traveling to Mecca, walking from one ritual site to another, finding and engaging with people from different cultures and sects, and soaking in the history of Islam that the pilgrims acquired knowledge as well as spiritual fulfillment. Today, hajj is a packaged tour, where you move, tied to your group, from hotel to hotel, and seldom encounter people of different cultures and ethnicities. Drained of history and religious and cultural plurality, hajj is no longer a transforming, once-in-a-lifetime spiritual experience. It has been reduced to a mundane exercise in rituals and shopping.Mecca is a microcosm of the Muslim world. What happens to and in the city has a profound effect on Muslims everywhere. The spiritual heart of Islam is an ultramodern, monolithic enclave, where difference is not tolerated, history has no meaning, and consumerism is paramount. It is hardly surprising then that literalism, and the murderous interpretations of Islam associated with it, have become so dominant in Muslim lands.
I would love to have a chance to say this is not representative of Islam, or that there is a majority of muslims that don’t follow these ways, or some other views of facts but…
How to change my header while those Angry Salafi/Wahabbi/Hanabillahi Beards, wearing their short thobes keep cheering up the destruction of every single piece of heritage that gives information about the origins of Islamic culture, neglecting centuries of history, and so many possibilities of increasing the world’s knowledge about their country and the origins of the religion they say to promote…
Israelis wouldn’t have done better if they had attempted to erase every single proof of the origins of Islam, and of course they wouldn’t have done it better to discredit Saudis, and Arabs, by extension, due to their absolute lack of interest in culture and knowledge.
There are many authors that coincide in stating that every cultural advance (except maybe algebra) that Arabic civilization gave to the world, was nothing else than an extension of what they learnt and took from what was left of Rome and Greece during their expansion… and behaviors like these just confirm those opinions.
Seeing how they treated what was left of the beginning of their history (they had already deleted everything from previous periods, as Polytheism, Judaism and Christianity were not welcome anymore in Saudia) makes me feel pain and shame.
Not, of course, from a religious point of view!.
To be honest, I can respect other people’s beliefs, as far as they don’t attack other’s… but the whole Holy Sites of Islam just awake my interest in terms of their artistic, historical and humanist value, and there is nothing beyond that, for me. No offense, please.
My opinions are about art, history, culture and all those things that apparently matter little to nothing to nowadays Bedouins… and it’s shameful that they won’t give a camel’s fart about it.
But that’s the same respect they deserve from me. And from their future generations, asking why were they deprived from ethnic roots and culture, while everyone in the world has them.
Tell them then about record-high hotels and sky-scrappers, about luxury cars and Paris Hilton exclusive handbags, tell them about how life was fun and shiny as in an Islamic Disneyland, while people kept peeing and defecating over what was left of Khadija’s house.