Makkah for the rich
Behind closed doors – in places where the religious police cannot listen in – residents of Mecca are beginning to refer to their city as Las Vegas Islam's holiest site 'turning into Vegas and the moniker is not a compliment.
Over the past 10 years the holiest site for Muslims has undergone a huge transformation, one that has divided opinion among Muslims all over the world.
Once a religious and spiritual resort for all Muslims to come together and worship God in homogenous equality. The city’ simple easy going and very much affordable theme for pilgrims arriving for the annual Hajj is gone down the drainage of capitalism.
The city now soars above its surroundings with a glittering array of skyscrapers, shopping malls and luxury hotels.
To the al-Saud monarchy, Mecca is their vision of the future – a steel and concrete metropolis built on the proceeds of enormous oil wealth that showcases their national pride.
Yet growing numbers of citizens, particularly those living in the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina, have looked on aghast as the nation's archaeological heritage is trampled under a construction mania backed by hardliners clerics who preach against the preservation of their own heritage. Mecca, once a place where the Prophet Mohamed insisted all Muslims would be equal, has become a playground for the rich, critics say, where naked capitalism has usurped spirituality as the city's raison d'être.
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