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Old December 5th, 2007, 02:57 PM   #121
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apparently there are 4 monsters like the abraj al bait going to be built in Madinah as well... check:http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...6#post16887256
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Old December 5th, 2007, 03:30 PM   #122
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LOL What good was the Ottoman castle may i ask?

Have you guys seen the terrible condition of the buildings surrounding the Grand Mosque? Last year around Hajj season an entire building collapsed killing innocent pilgrims. I'd rather do away with all the crumbling buildings that ALREADY SURROUND the Grand mosque for stable/safe/comfortable residential housing and hotels like the Abraj. The only concern I have is when the expansion of the Grand Mosque is planned, How do you go about it? Do you simply build floors on the existing Mosque or Build floors around the open Marble area?

Really though the Turkish government authorities were upset at the demolition of the tower untill they were explained the changing needs for Makkah as a whole when it comes to its poor poor infrastructure. People either don't care about Makkah's infrastructure, Haven't been to Makkah or simply could care less about the 2 million inhabitants of the city.

Its sad to think that the most important city in the whole Islamic world is in such a pathetic state in its Infrastructure. Only the Grand Mosque and its utilities such as fresh water, electricity and cooling is fitting for such an important City. The rest of the city is in a terrible state, but why would people on this forum care? LOL They aren't the local citizens of the city.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 02:49 AM   #123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *UofT* View Post
Have you guys seen the terrible condition of the buildings surrounding the Grand Mosque? Last year around Hajj season an entire building collapsed killing innocent pilgrims.
This is an interesting and valuable point of fact. It reinforces how badly heritage has been treated in that region and thus in and of itself does not justify razing buildings.

I've actually posted a link previously regarding an absolutely fabulous architectural award specific to the Muslim world. The video shows some of the projects and their achievements. Saudi Arabia could learn from it.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 03:01 AM   #124
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This is an interesting and valuable point of fact. It reinforces how badly heritage has been treated in that region and thus in and of itself does not justify razing buildings.
How is the fact that crumbling buildings from the 60's and 70's reinforce how heritage has been treated

The Saudi's have spent over $30 Billion since the early 80's in the expansion of the Grand Mosque into what it is today, Througout the 90's they were in an economic decline mostly because of the Price of Crude hovering around $20 a barrell and now that they finally have the resources to be investing in the city itself its the wrong thing to do? When was the last time you went to Makkah?
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Old December 6th, 2007, 03:13 AM   #125
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How is the fact that crumbling buildings from the 60's and 70's reinforce how heritage has been treated

The Saudi's have spent over $30 Billion since the early 80's in the expansion of the Grand Mosque into what it is today, Througout the 90's they were in an economic decline mostly because of the Price of Crude hovering around $20 a barrell and now that they finally have the resources to be investing in the city itself its the wrong thing to do? When was the last time you went to Makkah?
Your post is rather rude, and I really don't want this thread to slide down to the level of the Abraj al Bait thread, where it is a surprise if people aren't rude in their responses.

You never mentioned that the buildings to which you were referring were built in the 60's and 70's. The only specific example that has been mentioned has been Ottoman castle.

If there are buildings from the 60's and 70's that are crumbling / collapsing, that is a sad situation. So much money must have been spent on inferior construction!

With respect to the $30B, it is hard to see where exactly such a sum was invested in the Grand Mosque. Irrespective, that is a point that is outside of the scope of this thread.

It is irrespective when anyone on this thread last visited Mecca.

Do you have comments on the original article that launched this thread? (it is in post #1)
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Old December 6th, 2007, 03:53 AM   #126
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I dont have much facts in me but I have lived in Jeddah and Riyadh and have performed the Hajj and done Umrah many times therefore I am quite familiar with the entire area between Taif, Jeddah and Makkah. I believe that in spite of their disorganization have state of the art resources at their disposal. These new skyscrapers are not destroying Islamic heritage. How can they be?

Think about it plainly: the buildings that are currently there were the buildings chosen for that time and have no Islamic linkage to them.

The rise of new skyscrapers is somewhat disturbing however, due to their grand stand against the Kaaba. The Abraj al-Bait is a hideous skyscraper and has sparked much debate over its cast on Harom. The fact that it will be blocking the sun will create an unpleasant sight of the Kaaba. Saudi Arabia, the most conservative nation in Islamic affairs should not have permitted the construction of such a project. Skyscrapers ranging from 150-250m should be allowed in the vicinity of Harom, but not such enormous devils. They create a symbolic gesture that is extremely unpleasant. Buildings should not be allowed to cast such a shadow over the Holiest of Sites.

No matter which design, skyscrapers will never destroy the amount of heritage already in the most exciting and thrilling city in the world. Makkah is truly the capital of Islam. When you arrive, the streets lined with thousands of skyscrapers makes the city so ultimately brilliant. The echoes of Azan shall keep the city in this manner for years to come.

To stress, projects that try to compete with Harom in its size should not be allowed. My only guess about Abraj al-Bait is that the Saudi King want to leave his mark behind due to the current dynasty's enormous impact on Saudi Arabia. Much of what the mosque is, is basically from the past 50 years of Saudi Arabia and ultimately from the al-Saud dynasty.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 04:20 AM   #127
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the only reason Makkah and Madinah is still kept from the world is because it is significant to Muslims. It is not like Jerusalem where there are numerous points of tourism and the numbers of pilgrims can not even compare with those of Makkah and Madinah. Makkah and Madinah are so exclusive because of its current importance to muslims. The point of the being is that the religion states that these areas are Haram (holy land). The Kaaba is direct parallel of the house of god in the heavens. It is in these lands in which the Prophet Muhammad (pbuH) fought to keep from people who do not believe in Allah or do not respect the laws of the Quran. This is the fundamental reason in which Makkah and Madinah are kept from foreigners and non-muslims. There are many laws at work once inside these lands, prayer is expected, people are refrained from involving in unethical actions (killing of animals), intoxication, even getting mad. Theoretically, all these laws apply once in the holy land but in reality, of course. Drug smugglers use Makkah as a prime location for distribution, prostitutes are plenty to be seen. Islam is like all other religions. I feel as the majority of people see Makkah as a place of tourism, where as muslims still see it as a sight of holiness and it is still a duty that muslims from birth pledge to flock to. Therefore, the tourism question for Makkah should be abandoned. The past 50 years has seen the highest numbers for tourism but what we must not forget is that sometimes, somethings are inappropiate to be put on display and the two holy cities of Islam are one of those things.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 04:36 AM   #128
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Your post is rather rude, and I really don't want this thread to slide down to the level of the Abraj al Bait thread, where it is a surprise if people aren't rude in their responses.

You never mentioned that the buildings to which you were referring were built in the 60's and 70's. The only specific example that has been mentioned has been Ottoman castle.

If there are buildings from the 60's and 70's that are crumbling / collapsing, that is a sad situation. So much money must have been spent on inferior construction!

With respect to the $30B, it is hard to see where exactly such a sum was invested in the Grand Mosque. Irrespective, that is a point that is outside of the scope of this thread.

It is irrespective when anyone on this thread last visited Mecca.

Do you have comments on the original article that launched this thread? (it is in post #1)
And your post shows that you have never been to Makkah. Almost all the buildings surrounding the Grand Mosque are around 30-60 years old so its pretty self explanatory as to what I'm talking about. Further more you have to be utterly out of your mind to not know where the $30 Billion has gone. But that's not a surprise as well all know how much you know about the city.

The $30 billion that was spent on the Grand Mosques expansion was due to the costs of importing special materials from around the world, Wood was imported from South Africa, Gold plated finishings from Asia and the list goes on. We haven't even started talking about the investments that have been made to insure fresh water supplies for millions of those that visit Makkah. Do you even know how the Grand Mosque looked before the Saudi Expansion?

Do you even know there is a constant flow of cold water running through pipes underneath every inch of the marble flooring so that pilgrims are in comfort, added to that just the obvious expense of hand craftmanship that goes on to expand the Grand Mosque and it is no surprise $30 Billion was spent.

Now stop talking out of your other end and go visit the city and Mosque.

Last edited by *UofT*; December 6th, 2007 at 04:44 AM.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 05:02 AM   #129
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I don't think skyscraprapers will destroy Islam. It's not like they've destroyed Christianity.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 08:38 AM   #130
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who said they'd destroy Islam. The Petronas Towers, as an example, and an exemplary example of modern thoughtful Islamic architecture. The discussion in this thread is actually about the article in the first post. It is an extremely interesting piece - I highly recommend a read of it.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 08:39 AM   #131
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I dont have much facts in me but I have lived in Jeddah and Riyadh and have performed the Hajj and done Umrah many times therefore I am quite familiar with the entire area between Taif, Jeddah and Makkah. I believe that in spite of their disorganization have state of the art resources at their disposal. These new skyscrapers are not destroying Islamic heritage. How can they be?
We're not talking about designs destroying Islamic heritage, and we're not talking about specific projects either (though there are some interesting examples). Have a read of the article in the first post - that is the context of this thread.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 08:40 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by *UofT* View Post
And your post shows that you have never been to Makkah. Almost all the buildings surrounding the Grand Mosque are around 30-60 years old so its pretty self explanatory as to what I'm talking about.
Actually, that castle was over two centuries old. I'm really surprised you didn't know that!

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The $30 billion that was spent on the Grand Mosques expansion was due to the costs of importing special materials from around the world, Wood was imported from South Africa, Gold plated finishings from Asia and the list goes on.
Wow! That is a lot of money used to show off for a structure and city that is in great need of upgraded infrastructure (like water and the like). Gold plated finishings - for what?

Now that we've allowed you leeway with your off topic comments, I'd really love it if you review the article that this thread is talking about.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 08:49 AM   #133
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As many people have gone off topic, I'm re-posting the original article from the UK's independent ...

Shame of the House of Saud: Shadows over Mecca
Previously unseen photographs (NOT PUBLISHED WITH THIS ARTICLE) reveal how religious zealots obsessed with idolatory have colluded with developers to destroy Islam's diverse heritage

By Daniel Howden
Published: 19 April 2006

There is a growing shadow being cast over Islam's holiest site. Only a few metres from the walls of the Grand Mosque in Mecca skyscrapers are reaching further into the sky, slowly blocking out the light. These enormous and garish newcomers now dwarf the elegant black granite of the Kaaba, the focal point of the four million Muslims' annual Haj pilgrimage.

The tower blocks are the latest and largest evidence of the destruction of Islamic heritage that has wiped almost all of the historic city from the physical landscape. As revealed in The Independent last August,the historic cities of Mecca and Medina are under an unprecedented assault from religious zealots and their commercial backers.

Writing in response to the article, Prince Turki al-Faisal said that Saudi Arabia was spending more than $19bn (£11bn) preserving and maintaining these two holy sites. "[We are aware] how important the preservation of this heritage is, not just to us but to the millions of Muslims from around the world who visit the two holy mosques every year. It is hardly something we are going to allow to be destroyed."

This rebuttal sits at odds with a series of previously unseen photographs, published today, that document the demolition of key archaeological sites and their replacement with skyscrapers.

Saudi religious authorities have overseen a decades-long demolition campaign that has cleared the way for developers to embark on a building spree of multi-storey hotels, restaurants, shopping centres and luxury apartment blocks on a scale unseen outside Dubai. The driving force behind this historical demolition is Wahhabism * the austere state faith that the House of Saud brought with it when Ibn Saud conquered the Arabian peninsula in the 1920s.

The Wahhabis live in fanatical fear that places of historical or religious interest could give rise to alternative forms of pilgrimage or worship. Their obsession with combating idolatry has seen them flatten all evidence of a past that does not agree with their interpretation of Islam.

Irfan Ahmed al-Alawi, the chairman of the Islamic Heritage Foundation, set up to help protect the holy sites, says the case of the grave of Amina bint Wahb, the mother of the Prophet, found in 1998, is typical of what has happened. "It was bulldozed in Abwa and gasoline was poured on it. Even though thousands of petitions throughout the Muslim world were sent, nothing could stop this action."

Today there are fewer than 20 structures remaining in Mecca that date back to the time of the Prophet 1,400 years ago. The litany of this lost history includes the house of Khadijah, the wife of the Prophet, demolished to make way for public lavatories; the house of Abu Bakr, the Prophet's companion, now the site of the local Hilton hotel; the house of Ali-Oraid, the grandson of the Prophet, and the Mosque of abu-Qubais, now the location of the King's palace in Mecca.

Yet the same oil-rich dynasty that pumped money into the Taliban regime as they blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan six years ago has so far avoided international criticism for similar acts of vandalism at home. Mai Yamani, author of The Cradle of Islam, said it was time for other Muslim governments to ignore the al-Sauds' oil wealth and clout and speak out. " What is alarming about this is that the world doesn't question the al-Sauds' custodianship of Islam's two holy places. These are the sites that are of such importance to over one billion Muslims and yet their destruction is being ignored," she said. "When the Prophet was insulted by Danish cartoonists thousands of people went into the streets to protest. The sites related to the Prophet are part of their heritage and religion but we see no concern from Muslims."

Lay people, and in some cases even US senators could be forgiven for thinking that the House of Saud has been the guardian of the two holy places for time immemorial. In fact, it is only 80 years since the tribal chieftain Ibn Saud occupied Mecca and Medina. The House of Saud has been bound to Wahhabism since the 18th century religious reformer Mohamed Ibn Abdul-Wahab signed a pact with Mohammed bin Saud in 1744. Wahab's warrior zealots helped to conquer a kingdom for the tribal chieftains. The House of Saud got its wealth and power, and the clerics got the vehicle of state they needed to spread their fundamentalist ideology around the world. The ruler of this fledgling kingdom needed the legitimacy afforded by declaring himself " custodian of the two holy places".

But that legitimacy has come at an enormous price for the diversity of Muslims who look to Mecca for guidance. Once in charge, the Wahhabists wasted little time in censoring the Haj. As early as 1929, Egyptian pilgrims were refused permission to celebrate the colourful Mahmal rites and more than 30 were killed. At the time Egypt severed diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia. Few governments have stood up to them since.

Instead, the homogenisation of Islam's holiest sites was allowed to accelerate into a demolition campaign that now threatens the birthplace of the Prophet itself. The site survived the early reign of Ibn Saud 50 years ago when the architect for the planned library persuaded the absolute ruler to allow him to preserve the remains under the new structure. Saudi authorities now plan to "update" the site with a car park that would mean concreting over the remains.

"The al-Sauds need to rein in the Wahhabists now," warns Dr Yamani. "Mecca used to be a symbol of Muslim diversity and it needs to be again." But with oil prices and profits, at record highs, there is little sign the House of Saud is listening.

Sami Angawi, a Hijazi architect who has devoted his life to a largely doomed effort to preserve what remains of the history of the world's greatest pilgrimage sites, said that the final farewell to Mecca was imminent. " What we are witnessing are the last days of Mecca and Medina."

Mecca's skyline

Giant cranes and half-constructed skyscrapers tower over the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Six new property developments, including the Bin Laden group's Zam Zam Tower, are transforming the character of Islam's holiest city

ISLAMIC HERITAGE FOUNDATION

Mountain of light

The mountain of light, or al-Nour, is next in the Wahhabis' sights. Home to the Hira'a cave, it was here that the Prophet is said to have received the first verses of the Koran. Hardline clerics want it destroyed to stop pilgrims visiting. At the foot of the hill there is a Wahhabi fatwa: " The Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) did not permit us to climb on to this hill, not to pray here, not to touch stones, and tie knots on trees..."

ISLAMIC HERITAGE FOUNDATION

The Prophet's wife's grave

The ruins in the foreground are the remains of the grave of the Prophet's wife, Al Baqi, destroyed in the 1950s. The mutawi religious police are present night and day to prevent anyone placing flowers on the site, or even praying in the proximity of the graves

THE ISLAMIC HERITAGE FOUNDATION

Al Oraid Mosque

The 1,200-year-old mosque, site of the grave of the Prophet's grandson al-Oraid, is seen here being dynamited. Gathered around the site are Saudi religious police with their distinctive red scarves, who appear to be celebrating

THE ISLAMIC HERITAGE FOUNDATION
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Old December 6th, 2007, 09:06 AM   #134
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Actually, that castle was over two centuries old. I'm really surprised you didn't know that!
You and I both know I said BUILDINGS not castle, having comprehension problems are we?


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Wow! That is a lot of money used to show off for a structure and city that is in great need of upgraded infrastructure (like water and the like). Gold plated finishings - for what?
The Grand Mosque has always had materials from all parts of the world used in its construction whether it be Pre-Islamic era through trade, Ottomans or now the Saudi's. This is a Grand Mosque and only the best available materials are purchased for its expansion. you really crack me up. anways moving forwards to the last point.

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Now that we've allowed you leeway with your off topic comments, I'd really love it if you review the article that this thread is talking about.
Off topic? Your the one that posted over 8 quotes from this thread to the original thread regarding only construction. Infact it was your persistant "OFFTOPIC" remarks that lead to the creation of this thread.

Last edited by *UofT*; December 6th, 2007 at 10:48 AM.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 09:08 AM   #135
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Yes thanks for posting an article by Daniel Howden

I'm sure Mr. Howden has seen the city of Makkah first hand!!, and is well aware of the priorities of the city

Last edited by *UofT*; December 6th, 2007 at 10:48 AM.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 12:49 PM   #136
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the only reason Makkah and Madinah is still kept from the world is because it is significant to Muslims. It is not like Jerusalem where there are numerous points of tourism and the numbers of pilgrims can not even compare with those of Makkah and Madinah. Makkah and Madinah are so exclusive because of its current importance to muslims. The point of the being is that the religion states that these areas are Haram (holy land).
In the prophet's mosque in Madinah, there's a grave reserved for Isa (Jezus), who is expected to return and die on earth. Wouldn't you say this may be a sight of interest to Christians and jews as well?
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Old December 7th, 2007, 08:41 PM   #137
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Yes thanks for posting an article by Daniel Howden

I'm sure Mr. Howden has seen the city of Makkah first hand!!
Yes - it is an absolutely excellent article that brings to broader attention the major issues within this totalitarian regime.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 08:47 PM   #138
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Isn't this extremely disrespectful to such a holy site?
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Old December 7th, 2007, 08:51 PM   #139
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In the prophet's mosque in Madinah, there's a grave reserved for Isa (Jezus), who is expected to return and die on earth. Wouldn't you say this may be a sight of interest to Christians and jews as well?
I'd say that a much stronger example is the Kaaba itself. It was built by Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son - Ibrahim being the father of all three Abrahamic traditions.

The block stone of the Kaaba (the one broken into three by Arab in-fighting in the 7th century) was moved to that position by Ibrahim (Abraham) and Ismail (Ishmael). The Kaaba thus is a symbol of the GoD of Abraham common to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Muslims pray towards the Kaaba as a symbolic reaffirmation of this. Unfortunately, the developers, rule makers and even many of the pilgrims forget this underlying meaning.

I do hope that the developers and rule makers, who are often the same people within the Saudi totalitarian regime, realize what I've shared above, and one day stop being discriminatory all year round, and find a way to make this historic region a place for sharing and dialog - Inshallah.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 08:52 PM   #140
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Isn't this extremely disrespectful to such a holy site?
Yes - I think that is the opinion of a vast majority on this particular thread.

The only currently contributing member with a contrary view (though he refuses to comment on the specific points in the original article) is *UofT*.

Last edited by walli; December 8th, 2007 at 12:16 AM.
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