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25-Apr-2020 10:27

When it’s done, the expansion of the mataf, the area where the faithful circumambulate around the Kaaba, will treble its capacity, to 150,000 people; the Great Mosque will be able to hold 2.5 million.

Amir Pasic, of IRCICA, the culture organization of the 56-nation Organization of Islamic Conference, points out that the logistics for Hajj dwarf those required for a World Cup or Olympics.

Famously, the Kaaba now stands in the shade of one of the world’s tallest buildings, the Mecca Royal Clock Tower, part of a complex built by the Bin Laden Group, boasting a 5-story shopping mall, luxury hotels and a parking garage.

Saudi officials did not respond to interview requests, but in the past, they have said that the expansion project is necessary to cater to the ever-growing number of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, a number forecast to reach 17 million by 2025.

A fence went up at the base of the mountain, warning would-be visitors that it was just a mountain, like any other.

Six small mosques in Medina where Muhammad is believed to have prayed have been locked.

“By the next day in the morning, the monument is gone.” It’s not just in Mecca, either.

Over a year ago, the split in Mount Uhud, north of Medina, where Muhammad was said to have been carried after being wounded in the famous Battle of Uhud was filled with concrete.

In September, Mehmet Gormez, head of the Dinayet, Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, told journalists that he told Saudi’s minister of Hajj that the skyscraper overshadowing the Kaaba “destroys history,” the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reported.The Saudi government has never submitted Mecca for inclusion on the list of World Heritage Sites.As UNESCO’s mandate requires a respect for the sovereignty of individual countries, “we don’t have a legal basis to stake a position regarding it,” adds Amelan.A 61-page report, published recently in Saudi Arabia’s Journal of the Royal Presidency, suggested separating the Prophet’s tomb from Medina’s mosque, a task “that would amount to its destruction,” Alawi says.“You can’t move it without destroying it.” Moreover, he alleges, plans for a new palace for King Abdullah threaten the library atop the site traditionally identified as the birthplace of Muhammad.

In September, Mehmet Gormez, head of the Dinayet, Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, told journalists that he told Saudi’s minister of Hajj that the skyscraper overshadowing the Kaaba “destroys history,” the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reported.The Saudi government has never submitted Mecca for inclusion on the list of World Heritage Sites.As UNESCO’s mandate requires a respect for the sovereignty of individual countries, “we don’t have a legal basis to stake a position regarding it,” adds Amelan.A 61-page report, published recently in Saudi Arabia’s Journal of the Royal Presidency, suggested separating the Prophet’s tomb from Medina’s mosque, a task “that would amount to its destruction,” Alawi says.“You can’t move it without destroying it.” Moreover, he alleges, plans for a new palace for King Abdullah threaten the library atop the site traditionally identified as the birthplace of Muhammad.A few months ago, the house of Hamza, the Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, was flattened to make way for a Meccan hotel, according to Irfan Al Alawi, executive director of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation.