Saturday, August 25, 2007

Live Next Door to The Prophet!

I was shocked to read about this one, but perhaps should not have been -- developers in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, are building condominiums in the neighbourhood of the Ka'aba, the holiest shrine in Islam. Also being planned is an office building that will have twice the floor space of the current world's champion in that department, the Pentagon.

Truly, is nothing sacred?

Not that I could go to Mecca anyway -- it's forbidden to non-Muslims to enter -- but even if they did allow infidels to come to meditate or personally reflect, I wouldn't want to go anyway, knowing there's a Body Shop and a Cinnabon right on the edge of the shrine's precinct.

What if someone tried to build a mall next to St. Joseph's Oratory, or the Mormon Tabernacle, or the Cave of the Patriarachs? I mean, really.

Is it any wonder there are people trying to overthrow the al-Saud family? And you can bet that even if the family does fall, al-Qaeda will keep those stores and apartment buildings open to fund their terrorism, just as the Mafia uses legitimate business fronts to stay alive. But I thought holy sites were supposed to be just that, holy. Selling stamps and phone cards and trading Euro coins with the Pope's profile on the back, next to the Sistine Chapel, may be one thing -- after all, the Vatican is a sovereign state. But selling out one's faith in the name of the almighty dollar is quite another.

I'd think most devout Muslims would be outraged at what's happening to their sacred sites.

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