Fresh plans to erect a modern complex on the site of the birthplace of the Prophet Mohamed (pbuh), as part of a multi-billion-dollar redevelopment of the pilgrimage city of Mecca have surfaced this week.
Sources reveal that the Saudi government has granted permissions that yet another historic site of religious significance is to be destroyed.
The sweeping redevelopment, which aims to increase the capacity for more pilgrims, has already seen many sacred sites and structures ravaged in Mecca.
Now, Yorkshire Muslims have strongly condemned such degrading plans to destroy a heritage site, with an urgent call for Muslims in Britain to sign an online petition in protest against the proposals in Mecca.
The site in question in the birthplace of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (pbuh), is a library, which stands on a plinth just a few metres away from the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque).
The library, named ‘House of Malawid’ – a small building, which is rarely open to visitors, had been built in the 1950s to hide and protect what lay beneath.
It sits directly on top of what are believed to be the remains of the house, which scholars believe, is where Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) was born.
But the construction company in charge of redeveloping the area, the Saudi Binladin Group, had suggested that it be brought down so as to make way for a new residence for the Imams and an adjacent presidential palace.
At a strategic meeting the held at Leeds Makkah Masjid participants agreed that the expansion of the two cities, Makkah and Madina was vital to make way for the growing numbers of pilgrims in a rapidly expanded and inter-connected world, but it should not be done at the expense of destroying Islamic heritage.
Qari Asim MBE, Imam of Makkah Masjid, said: “We need to raise awareness amongst the Muslim masses.
“We urge Muslims to write to the Saudi embassy to demonstrate their opposition to the continued destruction of Islamic heritage.
“There is no easy solution to this problem, but standing aside in ignorance or with indifference is not an option.”
One of the participants of the meeting, Dr Khalid Muneer, said: “Much of this vandalism against Islamic historic – with direct link to the Prophet- is inspired by Wahabism.
“This ideology has destroyed so much of Islamic heritage that had been preserved for centuries. It is also shocking that the average Muslim is either blissfully unaware of what is happening or ambivalent.”
This destruction of historical sites is not a new phenomenon.
The house of the wife of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Khadijah (SA) has been destroyed and replaced with a block of toilets.
Further up the hill, centuries-old neighbourhoods have been flattened to continue the marching line of hotel towers, whilst a visit to the holy cemetery of Baqi’ reveals unmarked graves.