Saudi Destruction of Muslim Historical Sites - updated 10/3/2014
Posted Oct 3, 2014

Saudi Destruction of Muslim Historical Sites

by Sheila Musaji

We have rendered the shrine (the Kaaba) a focal point for the people, and a safe sanctuary. You may use Abraham’s shrine as a prayer house. We commissioned Abraham and Ishmael: “You shall purify My house for those who visit, those who live there, and those who bow and prostrate.” ... And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the House, (Abraham prayed): Our Lord! Accept from us (this duty). Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower. (2:125-127)

Last year (2006) we published an article about the planned Saudi destruction of the home of Prophet Muhammad, and another about the destruction of Islam’s historic sites by the Saudi’s over the past 50 years..

The current issue of Islamica magazine - the best Islamic print periodical available in English - has a series of articles on the Saudi destruction of Muslim historical sites, and the need for preservation of remaining sites in Saudi and elsewhere.  (The Saudi “repair” projects in Bosnia are also a lesson in destruction of Muslim history.) Anyone who can should check with their local news stand to see if this issue is still available, or better yet, get a subscription to Islamica if you don’t already have one.  Editors note:  Islamica Magazine stopped publishing in 2009, and many articles are no longer available online except for those that were reprinted on other sites.  In 2010 they set up a site to archive old articles and will work towards getting all the old articles online.  Here are those on this topic that are now online: The destruction of the holy sites in Mecca and Medina, Irfan Ahmed - The birth and immanent death of a sacred Meccan site, Shafiq Morton - Memorializing the sacred in the Islamic civilization context, Yousef Waleed Meri

The Ottomans did an excellent job in their centuries as custodians and protected and documented historic sites, and now their meticulous care is being reversed in a short time.  In fact, the Saudi’s are also destroying Ottomon history.  For example, the Ajyad Fortress (Turkish: Ecyad Kalesi) was an Ottoman fort built in Mecca, in what is now Saudi Arabia, in the late 18th century. It was destroyed by the Saudi government in 2002 for commercial development, sparking a global outcry.

History is being erased in order to accommodate ever increasing numbers of pilgrims.  Over 300 sites have been destroyed in the last 50 years. 95% of the sites in Mecca have been destroyed.  As few as 20 structures are left that date back to the time of the Prophet.  It would seem that at this rate there won’t be much for those like Congressman Tancredo who suggested Nuking Mecca to destroy.  Muslim silence over the destruction is shocking.

A Mecca conference in 2005 that criticized Israeli destruction of historic sites, and the Saudi protest of the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India would seem hypocritical. 

The site where the Prophet grew up has already been demolished, a library has now been built over the house where the Prophet was born and now there are plans to demolish that to build skyscrapers.

Five of the renowned “Seven Mosques” initially built by Prophet Muhammad’s daughter and four of his “greatest Companions”: Masjid Abu Bakr, Masjid Salman al-Farsi, Masjid Umar ibn al-Khattab, Masjid Sayyida Fatima bint Rasulillah and Masjid Ali ibn Abi Talib have been demolished.

The Saudi’s have announced an award — called “Prince Sultan ibn Salman Award for Architectural Heritage” — which will be presented in three fields — research related to architectural heritage, use of architectural heritage in new designs and heritage restoration and rehabilitation.  However, by the time anyone might win such an award what will be left to protect?

What we can do is at least protest any further destruction.  We can contact the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC or the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission and ask them to preserve Islam’s historical sites.  I am grateful that I was able to experience Hajj before this destruction began to speed up. 

UPDATE February 2008

We have just published Destruction of Islamic Architectural Heritage in Saudi Arabia: A Wake-up Call by Saeed Shehabi in which he notes:

...  The extremism of today’s Salafi movement has become a force of annihilation, which spares no one in its drive to dominate the Muslim world. It is closely linked to the Wahhabi movement founded by Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al Wahab (1703–1792 AC). His aim was to purify Islam by returning all Muslims to what he believed were its original principles as typified by al Salaf al Şalihīn (the earliest converts to Islam). He rejected what he regarded as corruption introduced by bid‘a (innovation, reformation) and shirk (idolatry). During his lifetime, he denounced the practices of various sects of Sufism as heretical and unorthodox, such as their veneration of saints. Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al Wahab revived interest in the works of an earlier scholar, Ibn Taymiyyah (661–728AH/1263–1328AC), and his disciple, Ibn al Jawziyyah (d. 1350 AC).  ...  The Arabian Peninsula became the launching pad for the new politico-religious trend. This led to the destruction of more than 90 per cent of Islamic monuments, holy places, tombs and mausoleums. Anything that had symbolic significance unrelated to the Wahhabi school of thought was deemed “polytheistic” and faced destruction. In 1924, ‘Abd al ‘Aziz ibn Sa‘ud and his troops occupied Makkah in the region of Hejaz. Among their first actions was the destruction of al Mu’alla graveyard, which contained the grave of Khadijah, Prophet Muhammad’s wife, and that of his uncle, Abu Talib. Two years later, in 1926, Ibn Sa‘ud occupied Madinah and demolished the tombed mausoleum over the graves of several of Prophet Muhammad’s descendants, including those of his daughter, Fatimah, and his grandson, Hassan ibn ‘Ali. Since no tangible resistance to their heinous actions was mounted by Muslims, they went even further and demolished the famous Seven Mosques of Salman al Farisi, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, Fatimah, ‘Ali, al Qiblatayn and al Fath.

UPDATE November 2010

A new 485-metre-high Mecca clocktower has been built.  Some highlights about the project of which the clocktower is a part from an excellent Guardian article:

— The clocktower is part of a project that buckles under the weight of its own statistics. Abraj al-Bait, a complex of luxury hotels, malls and apartments, has an estimated value of $3bn (£1.86bn), a built-up area of 1.4m sq metres, 15,000 housing units and 70,000 sq metres of retail space.

— The level of pampering offered by some of the hotels – Asprey toiletries, 24-hour butler service, $270 chocolate selections – may jar with the ethos of sacrifice, simplicity and humility of hajj but it is not a contradiction felt by the customers snapping up royal suites at $5,880 a night, eating gelato or milling around hangar-like lobbies of polished marble in their Hajj clothing of bedsheets, towels or burqas. Raffles is reporting 100% occupancy for it 211 rooms.

— The view from al-Bait reveals the physical impact of this soaring ambition. All around the Grand Mosque and the Ka’bah, which are overshadowed by cranes and skyscrapers, construction continues at a frenzied pace. Mountains have been razed to make way for towers– a pile ‘em high and sell ‘em high approach to hospitality – and homes demolished.

— The mountains of Mecca – Omar, Kaabah, Khandama – will no longer exist. The Shamiya district has all but disappeared. From the terrace of al-Bait to street level there is a stench of machine oil and cement that mingles with the more familiar odours of hajj – sweat, hardship and flipflops.

UPDATE 9/23/2011

An article Mecca for the rich: Islam’s holiest site ‘turning into Vegas’ was just published by the Independent in Britain.  According to this article

But critics fear that the desire to expand the pilgrimage sites has allowed the authorities to ride roughshod over the area’s cultural heritage. The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates that 95 per cent of Mecca’s millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades alone.

The destruction has been aided by Wahabism, the austere interpretation of Islam that has served as the kingdom’s official religion ever since the al-Sauds rose to power across the Arabian Peninsula in the 19th century.

In the eyes of Wahabis, historical sites and shrines encourage “shirq” – the sin of idolatry or polytheism – and should be destroyed. When the al-Saud tribes swept through Mecca in the 1920s, the first thing they did was lay waste to cemeteries holding many of Islam’s important figures. They have been destroying the country’s heritage ever since. Of the three sites the Saudis have allowed the UN to designate World Heritage Sites, none are related to Islam.

The article lists a number of sites that have been destroyed or are in danger of being destroyed. 

The Independent has a very interesting photograph with notes.

UPDATE November 2012

It seems that the Saudi’s are not offended by some “cultural icons”.  Paris Hilton is opening a store in Mecca.  Here are a few articles on this development: — Paris Hilton Store In Holy City Of Mecca Sparks OutrageParis Hilton whips up a storm in holy Mecca3 reasons Paris Hilton’s Mecca boutique is a really, really bad idea.

Omid Safi comments on this commercialization of Mecca Saudis say No to the Prophet Muhammad, Yes to Paris Hilton

“More and more people are speaking out against the Saudi regime, and the way in which its Wahhabi ideology has linked together an utter disregard for the historical heritage of Muslims with an unabashed embrace of vapid capitalism. In both Mecca and Medina, the Saudi state has already bulldozed over 90% of the Islamic monuments going back some 1400 years. In their place, they are putting up five star hotels, parking lots, and shopping malls.

... So this is what it has come to. The so-called “Guardians of the two sanctuaries” bulldoze Islamic history, tear down the houses associated with the Prophet and his family, and in its place put up shopping malls by vapid symbols of the most crass capitalistic materialism the world has to offer. No wonder many are talking about the transformation of Mecca into another Las Vegas.

... Furthermore, in place of these historical monuments, many of which hold a sacred significance to all Muslims outside of the Wahhabi sect, the Saudi state is building five star hotels that cost as much as $7,000 a night. In other words, these policies are not only bulldozing the history of Islam, they are also subverting the radical egalitarian teachings of Islam most beautifully symbolized in the rich and poor standing shoulder to shoulder wearing simple unadorned clothing in the House of the One God. Now the poor teeming masses are below, and the ultra-rich can reside in their 5-star suites looking down at the Ka’ba. Lastly, these absurd towers even displace the very symbolism and centrality of the Ka’ba.

The Saudis make a great deal of their honorific as the “Caretaker of the two Noble Sanctuaries” in Mecca and Medina. One has to wonder about a kind of Care that says no to the legacy of Muhammad, bulldozes it, and invites Paris Hilton in its place. ...

UPDATE 1/28/2012

A 35-minute video has been put online Wahabi Destruction Of Makkah’s Historical Places which gives a great deal of information.  And, another 9 minute video Vandalization of the Holy Places also on YouTube.

Shehnaz Kermali has written an excellent article about the fact that the Saudi elite are proud of the British Museum’s current Hajj exhibition, and notes that “it’s a shame they don’t feel the same about all their heritage”.

UPDATE 11/20/2012

It has been reported that the Saudi’s plan to raze Prophet Mohammed’s tomb to build larger mosque.

The key Islamic heritage site, including Prophet Mohammed’s shrine, is to be bulldozed, as Saudi Arabia plans a $ 6 billion expansion of Medina’s holy Masjid an-Nabawi Mosque. However, Muslims remain silent on the possible destruction.  ­Work on the Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina, is planned to start as soon as the annual Hajj pilgrimage comes to a close at the end of November.

...  Concerns are growing that the expansion of Masjid an-Nabawi will come at the price of three of the world’s oldest mosques nearby, which hold the tombs of Prophet Mohammed and two of his closest companions, Abu Bakr and Umar. The expansion project which will cost 25 billion SAR (more than US $6 billion) reportedly requires razing holy sites, as old as the seventh century.

UPDATE 3/30/2013

The photos Saudi Arabia doesn’t want seen – and proof Islam’s most holy relics are being demolished in Mecca

... The authorities in Saudi Arabia have begun dismantling some of the oldest sections of Islam’s most important mosque as part of a highly controversial multi-billion pound expansion.  Photographs obtained by The Independent reveal how workers with drills and mechanical diggers have started demolishing some Ottoman and Abbasid sections on the eastern side of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca.

...  But such a transformation has come at a cost. The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates that 95 per cent of Mecca’s millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades alone. Dozens of key historical sites dating back to the birth of Islam have already been lost and there is a scramble among archaeologists and academics to try and encourage the authorities to preserve what little remains.  Many senior Wahabis are vehemently against the preservation of historical Islamic sites that are linked to the prophet because they believe it encourages shirq – the sin of idol worshipping.  But Dr Irfan al-Alawi, executive director of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation which obtained the new photographs from inside the Grand Mosque, says the removal of the Ottoman and Abbasid columns will leave future generations of Muslims ignorant of their significance. ...

What has changed?

In Saudi Arabia, Muslim historic sites, graveyards, mosques, etc. stood for centuries (some from the earliest days of Islam in the 6th century) and were protected by the Ottomans and previous generations.  Under the Saudi’s these sites are being destroyed.  The Saudi’s began destroying historical sites as soon as they came to power in 1806, but were stopped by the Ottomans who even attempted to restore some of the sites.  The Saudi’s did not get an opportunity to continue with their destruction until after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century.

What changed between the 6th century and the 20th/21st centuries?

The destruction of Islamic cultural heritage has gone far beyond Saudi Arabia.

The Buddhas of Bamiyan stood in the Bamyan valley of Afghanistan since the 5th century AD.  Islam came to this area between the 7th and 9th centuries AD. There was some damage done to the statues over the centuries, blamed on various individual kings & emperors.  But the statues stood for 1,000 years in a predominantly Muslim country.  The Taliban commander responsible for destroying the statues in 2001 was prevented from doing so for some years by local authorities, and even by Mullah Mohammed Omar.  The Guardian reported “But the Taliban then decided to take a more pragmatic view of Afghanistan’s pre-Islamic past. In July 1999 Mullah Omar issued a decree that said the Bamiyan buddhas should be preserved. There were, he pointed out, no Buddhists left in Afghanistan to worship them. But he added: “The government considers the Bamiyan statues as an example of a potential major source of income for Afghanistan from international visitors. The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be destroyed but protected.” 

The Taliban destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan which was condemned by most Muslims at the time it happened.  This passage from an American Muslim condemnation of this act expresses the shock that such a thing could have happened:

The statues in Afghanistan are its historic treasures. These statues have existed in Afghanistan long before Afghans became Muslims. No Afghan Muslim government in the past tried to destroy them.  They represent the past history of Afghanistan and its transformation into a Muslim community that recognized monotheism. Past generations and governments of Afghanistan did not destroy these images and yet Islam flourished in Afghanistan.  In many other countries where Muslims are a majority, and have ruled those lands for centuries, they did not destroy the religious symbols of other people. Such images and symbols of the past still exist in almost all Muslim countries.

What changed between the 9th century and the 20th/21st centuries?

In Libya, the graves of scholars and Sufi saints have stood since the 15th century.  In 2012 extremists began destroying these graves.  In Timbuktu, Mali, hundreds of thousands of manuscripts have been lovingly maintained in its libraries since the 14th century.  In the 20th century hardline extremists attempted to destroy many of these manuscripts.  They set fire to some libraries, and also smashed graves and shrines.  In Tunisia, extremists have attacked almost 40 Sufi shrines in the past few years.  In Somalia, Iraq, and Pakistan, extremists are attacking Sufi shrines regularly.  In Bosnia, Saudi Arabia has offered to help restore mosques and historical sites damaged during the war.  Instead, under the pretense of helping restore them,  they have been destroyed and rebuilt.  Old Ottoman era cemeteries and Sufi shrines have been razed. 

What changed between the 15th century and the 20th/21st centuries?

In Egypt, Malaysia, Kenya, extremists are targeting Sufi shrines regularly. Extremists are attacking minority communities, including Shia, Ahmadi, Christians, Sikhs, Sufis, etc.  Even in countries where communities have lived together in relative peace for centuries, there is now a lack of tolerance, and even violence towards minorities.  In Pakistan, whose “Quaidi Azam” or great leader and founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was a Shia, the Shia are now undergoing intense persecution.

What changed in the 20th/21st centuries?

Something new and destructive became a force within many Muslim communities.  Certainly, colonialism and the many destructive legacies of colonialism have had a negative impact.  The formation of the State of Israel by decree of former colonial powers and without taking into consideration the rights of the existing local community had a profound effect on not only the Middle East, but on the world.  The collapse of the Ottoman Empire also had a negative impact. 

All of these are important - but one negative force is rarely mentioned.  That is the rise of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia, followed by the discovery of vast oil resources making the Saudi’s extremely wealthy.  This allowed them to use those vast resources to spread their particular interpretation of Islam around the world.  The destructive impulse has spread around the world wherever Wahhabi teachings have gone. 

Saudi Arabia funded madrassas that produced the Taliban and many other extremist groups.  They spread their ideology through sending Imams around the globe. They provided their own “revised” translations of the Qur’an, as well as “new” translations that provide only an extreme interpretation in line with their interpretation.  We saw this right in the U.S. with the “revised” Yusuf Ali, and the Hilali-Khan translations that were given away free by the case to mosques across the country.  They have funded all of this with petro-dollars.  And, although they are anti-traditional Islam, and anti-West, because of their oil, they have been supported by the West.

It is past time for Muslims around the world to speak out against this destruction of our heritage.  It is not only buildings that are being destroyed. 

UPDATE 7/19/2013

It has been reported that in Istanbul, Turkey

Hundreds of would-be pilgrims denied the chance to travel to Mecca made a virtual tour of the Muslim holy sites on Thursday after breaking their fasts next to an Ottoman mosque on Istanbul’s Bosphorus shore.

Saudi Arabia’s religious authorities last month approved a request by the government to reduce the number of pilgrims, including those from abroad, permitted at the hajj this year to allow expansion work at Mecca’s Grand Mosque.

A real hajj guide and seven actors in the Istanbul square, their shadows projected on three giant screens showing videos of Mecca, tried to recreate the pilgrimage. ...

The Huffington Post just pubished Mecca Clock Tower Photo Shows Kaaba In The Shadow Of Abraj Al-Bait Building.  The article opens with: “The Kaaba once took center stage, but now it appears as a minute structure at the foot of a clock tower and hotel, which opened in 2012.  The Abraj Al-Bait Towers loom over the Masjid Al-Haram in an ostentatious show of luxury that stands in stark contrast to the piety and history symbolized by the Kaaba, a cube-shaped structure believed by Muslims to have been originally built by the prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael.”  But this photo included in the article says everything without words.  It deserves to be used as a meditation on “what has changed”.

UPDATE 10/2/2014

A number of articles on the current state of Mecca and Medina have been published in conjunction with this year’s Hajj.  This happens every year, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference to the Saudi’s, and the transformation of Mecca and Medina continue.

Last month, the Independent in Great Britain published an article claiming that the Saudi’s were considering moving the Prophet’s tomb in Medina, but this story seems to have been false. “The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which is one of the largest Islamic organizations specializing in culture education and science based in Rabat, has denied that the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed is to be moved from its current location in the Medina mosque.

However, these recently published articles and social media posts by this year’s Hajji’s tell a different story.  Here are a few of those articles:

Has Mecca been robbed of its history?, Nicholas Korody

Mecca-Hattan: Islam’s holiest is being overhauled and people are furious, Aya Batrawi

Mecca has been turned into Disneyland, Michael Kerr

Mecca morphing - the holy city of Mecca us facing a radical makeover, Ziyah Gafic

Turkey’s top cleric slams Saudi Arabia over Mecca skyscrapers

Witness Mecca’s dramatic overhaul over the past century in photos

And, this article by Ziauddin Sardar The destruction of Mecca is getting a great deal of attention:

WHEN Malcolm X visited Mecca in 1964, he was enchanted. He found the city “as ancient as time itself,” and wrote that the partly constructed extension to the Sacred Mosque “will surpass the architectural beauty of India’s Taj Mahal.”

Fifty years on, no one could possibly describe Mecca as ancient, or associate beauty with Islam’s holiest city. Pilgrims performing the hajj this week will search in vain for Mecca’s history.
The dominant architectural site in the city is not the Sacred Mosque, where the Kaaba, the symbolic focus of Muslims everywhere, is. It is the obnoxious Makkah Royal Clock Tower hotel, which, at 1,972 feet, is among the world’s tallest buildings. It is part of a mammoth development of skyscrapers that includes luxury shopping malls and hotels catering to the superrich. The skyline is no longer dominated by the rugged outline of encircling peaks. Ancient mountains have been flattened. The city is now surrounded by the brutalism of rectangular steel and concrete structures — an amalgam of Disneyland and Las Vegas.

The “guardians” of the Holy City, the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the clerics, have a deep hatred of history. They want everything to look brand-new. Meanwhile, the sites are expanding to accommodate the rising number of pilgrims, up to almost three million today from 200,000 in the 1960s.

The initial phase of Mecca’s destruction began in the mid-1970s, and I was there to witness it. Innumerable ancient buildings, including the Bilal mosque, dating from the time of the Prophet Muhammad, were bulldozed. The old Ottoman houses, with their elegant mashrabiyas — latticework windows — and elaborately carved doors, were replaced with hideous modern ones. Within a few years, Mecca was transformed into a “modern” city with large multilane roads, spaghetti junctions, gaudy hotels and shopping malls.

The few remaining buildings and sites of religious and cultural significance were erased more recently. The Makkah Royal Clock Tower, completed in 2012, was built on the graves of an estimated 400 sites of cultural and historical significance, including the city’s few remaining millennium-old buildings. Bulldozers arrived in the middle of the night, displacing families that had lived there for centuries. The complex stands on top of Ajyad Fortress, built around 1780, to protect Mecca from bandits and invaders. The house of Khadijah, the first wife of the Prophet Muhammad, has been turned into a block of toilets. The Makkah Hilton is built over the house of Abu Bakr, the closest companion of the prophet and the first caliph. ...

Read the full article (with photographs) in the New York Times


Sheila Musaji is the founding editor of The American Muslim (TAM), published since 1989.  Sheila received the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2007 Islamic Community Service Award for Journalism,  and the Loonwatch Anti-Loons of 2011: Profiles in Courage Award for her work in fighting Islamophobia.  Sheila was selected for inclusion in the 2012 edition of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims published since 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan.    Biography  You can follow her on twitter @sheilamusaji ( )


A Jewish Voice Left Silent: Trying to Articulate “The Levantine Option”, David Shasha

After Jews and Arabs: Finding Our Common Humanity under the Rubble of Violence, David Shasha

American Muslims Issue Statement Against Taliban Destruction of Buddhist Statues

Contested Histories and Disembodied Voices: How to Speak of the Arab Jew, David Shasha

Creating Common Platforms Between Muslim and Western Societies to Tackle Extremist Discourse, S. Abdallah Schleifer

Destroyed Sufi Shrine In Kashmir Revered By Both Muslims And Hindus

Big Bin – the Royal Clock Tower of Mecca, Aziz Poonawalla 5/11
Builders erase Mecca’s history  7/05
Bulldozing Islam 10/2006
Destruction of early Islamic heritage sites, Wikipedia entry
Crimes Against Civilization in the Hejaz, Faisal Husain
The Destruction of Holy Sites in Mecca & Medina – Destroying Islamic Heritage  2/10
The destruction of Mecca: Saudi hardliners are wiping out their own heritage, By Daniel Howden 8/2005
Developers and Purists Erase Mecca’s History, Laith Abou Ragheb 7/06
Destruction of Islamic Architectural Heritage in Saudi Arabia: A Wake-up Call, Saeed Shehabi   2/2008
Destruction of Historic Meccan Sites Should be Avoided, By Mirza A. Beg
The Hajj exhibition is in stark contrast to Saudi Arabia’s cultural vandalism, Shehnaz Kermali
It is time (and past time) to Occupy Mecca—to save Mecca, Omid Safi
Luxury Architecture in Mecca: Has Hajj Lost Its Egalitarian Spirit?  1/11
Medina: Saudis take a bulldozer to Islam’s history
Mecca Conference Criticized for Hypocrisy on Holy Site Destruction, Sherrie Gossett
Mecca for the rich: Islam’s holiest site ‘turning into Vegas’
Mecca goes upmarket  12/2010
New Clock Tower in Mecca Challenges Greenwich Mean Time  8/2010
New Look for Mecca: Gargantuan and Gaudy  12/2010
New Projects Bury Makkah Heritage 9/11
photo of how Grand Mosque is being overshadowed by construction 4/06
Photographs of Masjid al Haram in 1880, unknown year, 1910, 1954, 2000, 2004.
Photograph of Jannat al Mualla at Mecca before and after demolition, inside the Jannat.
Photographs of Jannat ul Baqi before and after it was razed
Photographs of Medina in 1907, old photo year unknown.
photos of super tall development projects in Mecca
Photos of Abraj al Bait construction project near Kaabah 2/2006
Preservation of historical sites in Saudi Arabia sparks heated debate  1/10
Plans to revamp Islam’s holiest city are worrying Muslims around the world  12/08
Protecting Historical Sites in Saudi Arabia, Irfan Ahmed 2/2006
Public Toilets Built Over House of Sayyida Khadija by Saudi’s 2/2006
Proposed al Shamiya project in Mecca - Skyscraper City
The Price of Progress: Transforming Islam’s Holiest Site, Hassan Fattah 3/2007
Sacred Land Film Project
Saudis Accused of Razing Islamic Sites  3/2011
Saudi Clerics Want to Restrict Women Praying at Kaaba 8/2006
Saudi Arabia Seeks Tourists  5/06
The Saudis’ relentless drive to destroy the historic sites of Islam, Zafar Bangash 7/2008
Save the Hijaz Petition
Shame of the House of Saud: Shadows Over Mecca, Daniel Howden 3/2007
Transformed Mecca  11/10
Under the vandals hammer, destruction of historic Saudi sites
VIDEO Vandalization of holy places  1/2011

Don’t Fear All Islamists, Fear Salafis, Robin Wright

Extremists set fire to one of world’s great libraries in Timbuktu

FACT SHEET: Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land

Going After the Dead, Sidi Nazim Baksh


History of The Christian Coptic Orthodox Church Of Egypt

How American Jewry Missed the Sephardic Israeli Saga: The Perspective of an Arab-Jew , Dr David Rabeeya

Ibn Taymiyyah and His Fatwa on Terrorism, Asghar Ali Engineer

In Egypt, Copts, Muslims and a tale of two churches, Dr. H.A Hellyer

Inside Wahhabi Islam

Islamic Spirituality: The Forgotten Revolution: the Poverty of Fanaticism, Abdal Hakim Murad

Islamists Make Sufi Shrines A Target In North Africa, Kiran Alvi

Libya: Attack of the body-snatching, shrine-bulldozing, mosque-destroying extremists, Omid Safi

Libya Officials Seem Helpless as Sufi Shrines Are Vandalized

Libya Sufi shrines attacked ‘by Islamist hardliners’

Libyans rally against destruction of Sufi shrines by Salafists

The Loss of Meaning: The Destruction of Muslim Holy Sites, Sheikh Faraz Rabbani

The Mardin Conference – Understanding Ibn Taymiyyah’s Fatwa, Sheila Musaji

The Mecca Charter: Saudi Exploitation of Religion for Secular Ends?, Dr. Robert D. Crane

The menace of Wahhabism,  Shaykhu-l-Islam Ahmad Zayni Dahlan

More than 70 Indian Muslim scholars denounce the Taliban destruction

Muslim-Christian Relations, The Good, the Bad

Muslim, Jews and Christians - Relations and Interactions, Dr Gordon Newby

Not to be outdone by Robertson, Mohler claimed that Buddhism, Hinduism, and Marxism are “demonstration[s] of satanic power”

Pat Robertson, the Taliban, and destruction of “idols”, Sheila Musaji

Prophet Muhammad’s Charter to the Monks of St. Catherine’s Monastery

The Prophet of Islam and the Monks of Christendom,, Reza Shah Kazemi

Pakistani Taliban target Sufi shrines

Rediscovering the Arab Jewish Past, David Shasha

Saudi Destruction of Muslim Historical Sites, Sheila Musaji (with collection of articles on this specific topic)

Saudi Wahhabi Aid Workers Bulldoze Balkan Monuments

The Saudi-isation Of Pakistan, Parvez Hoodbhoy

Salafi Burnout

So, what did the Muslims do for the Jews?, David J. Wasserstein

Sufis and Salafis of the West: Discord and the Hope of Unity, Yahya Birt

Sufism may be powerful antidote to Islamic extremism, Jane Lampman

Sufism re-emerges in Somalia as al-Shabab’s control wanes

Terrorism, Salafi Jihadism and the West, Tariq Ramadan

Timbuktu library – a treasure house of centuries of Malian history, Peter Walker 

Timbuktu’s Ancient Libraries: Saved by Locals, Endangered by a Government

Tradition and truths in the Muslim world, H.A. Hellyer

The truth about the expulsion of Jews from Arab Countries, Esther Meir-Glitzenstein

Wahhabi Theology

The Wahhabi Threat To Islam, Mona Eltahawy


Where Did Al-Qaeda Come From?: Why No One Wins If Islam Loses The Blame Game, Dr. David Liepert

Who or what is a Salafi? Is their approach valid?, Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller

World reaction to destruction of Bamiyan Buddha’s

Why the Taliban are destroying Buddhas,  W.L. Rathje 


Originally posted March 2007