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Reaction to this incident misses an opportunity

Reader comment on item: Open Mecca to the World

Submitted by Dave (United States), Aug 5, 2022 at 17:23

If one googles the list of proximate reasons as to why Mecca is off-limits to non-Muslims, there are both positive and negative items, such as reducing crowding and maintaining sanctity, or, less tolerantly, keeping idolators away from the Grand Mosque (9:28).

The critics of this visit overlook the negative in favor of the positive, but they are missing the big picture. Constructive criticism requires a wider perspective. It would point out that it's time Muslims faced the religious intolerance that has poisoned relations with non-Muslims around the world for centuries, and that Mecca is a good place to start.

Let's skim the record. In India, thousands of Hindu temples were destroyed over the centuries and victory mosques were built over many of them. It is estimated, for example, that the Mughals destroyed 36,000 temples. During the Muslim conquest of Spain, countless churches were laid waste. When Jordan occupied East Jerusalem, all but one of 35 synagogues were destroyed, Jewish cemeteries were desecrated and Jews were forbidden from praying at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site. Even today, Muslims routinely riot over alleged Jewish prayers taking place at the Temple Mount, incite violence with false rumors of Jewish plots to take it over, and occasionally assault Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall. Violence against Jews by Muslims occurs routinely at Joseph's Tomb, a site Muslims claim as their own. These shenanigans have been ongoing for decades, predating Israel.

Looking at this history, one may reasonably conclude that Islam recognizes only one religion as valid: Islam. One may also conclude that there are no holy sites on the planet which are not by rights the exclusive property of Muslims. Islamic scripture even makes it clear that all the holy figures in Judaism and Christianity were actually Muslims.

In a sense, therefore, to the Muslim mind, the boundaries of Mecca extend throughout the world, because Islam is the only thing that is sacred in the world, all the rest not under Muslim control is simply profane. Not asserting control over it is more a matter of practicality, not desire.

Let's use Mecca as a starting point for pushback, as a way for non-Muslims to assert that they too have important rights and rites. Let's stop all these cowardly, dhimmi apologetics. The KSA is run by the canny MBS, a decent and rational adult, so let's show him the respect he deserves and approach him with plain talk.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

Well put, thank you.

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