JNN 19 Mar 2013 Riyadh : New photos taken by activists show that the Riyadh regime has demolished many holy sites at the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca under the cloak of a development plan implemented by Osama bin Laden’s family business.
According to the reports, photographs obtained by the Independent show workers with drills and mechanical diggers tearing down some Ottoman and Abbasid sections on the eastern side of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca – the Grand Mosque.
The Masjid al-Haram is the holiest Islamic site and houses Ka’aba, the point to which all Muslims face when praying.
The segments under demolition are the last remaining parts of the mosque, dating back to more than a few hundred years.
One column which has reportedly been razed marks the spot where Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his porgeny) started his heavenly journey Meraj (Night Ascension) to al-Quds and to heaven in a single night.
Many of the Ottoman and Abbasid columns at the Masjid al-Haram contain Arabic calligraphy marking the names of the Prophet’s companions and remarkable moments in his life.
Saudi regime authorities claim that the demolitions are part of a multi-billion-dollar development plan aimed at increasing the capacity of Masjid al-Haram.
The Saudi mega-corporation Binladin Group (Osama bin Laden’s family business) has won the tender for the expansion project.
The Binladin Group is an active member of the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council and plays a central role in deciding bilateral policy for the benefit of collective US-Saudi corporate-financier and corresponding geopolitical interests.
Saudi King Abdullah has also appointed the top Wahhabi cleric and imam of the Grand Mosque, Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, to be in charge of the development plan.
Critics have described the development project as part of a Western and Israeli agenda and lashed out at the Saudi regime for deliberately disregarding the archaeological, historical and cultural heritage of Islam.
Observers attribute Riyadh’s disdain for historic sites of Islam to the kingdom’s association with Wahhabism, which is an extreme and inflexible interpretation of Islam.
Under the pretext of a similar development project, the Saudi regime plans to bulldoze three of the world’s oldest mosques around Masjid al-Nabawi in the holy city of Medina.
Saudi regime officials have not declared any plans with respect to preserving the historical mosques that are covered by the Ottoman-era structures.
The Washington-based (Persian) Gulf Institute says Riyadh has bulldozed 95 percent of 1,000-year-old buildings in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in the past 20 years with the aim of expanding shopping centers, skyscrapers and luxury hotels.