Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Demolishing Heritage

Thabit, a newly minted hajji, posts about the destruction of Muslim holy sites in the Hejaz. Wahhabi puritanism frowns upon anything that they feel could distract from worship of the one God, and this includes monuments related to important figures in Islamic history. Sufism did not long survive the rise of Wahhabism in the Arabian Peninsula, and the tombs of some Shi'ite Imams and the Prophets's daughter Fatima were closed for most of the 20th century. In his book The Politicization of Islam, Kemal Karpat wrote about how disappointed many pilgrims were that they could no longer find sites associated with historical religious figures important to their personal spirituality. This is a tragic loss not only for Muslims, but for all of us who share the common human heritage of which Islam forms such an important part, and is one more reason why I really hate the Saudi government.


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