Feature

A sacred cover-up

The week's news at a glance.

Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Saudi authorities have approved a plan to destroy the birthplace of the Prophet Mohammed, the London Independent reported this week. In the last two decades, the Saudis have destroyed 95 percent of the ruins from Mohammed’s time, around 1,400 years ago, in the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina. One of the few sites left, the prophet’s birthplace, is now slated to be covered in concrete. The reason is the disdain of idolatry. The House of Saud’s Wahhabi form of Islam prohibits giving religious significance to any tangible thing, including buildings where Mohammed lived and prayed. “What we are witnessing,” said Saudi architect Sami Angawi, “are the last days of Mecca and Medina.”

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