I read this article and it made me sad, and made me think:
They are opening a brand new luxury hotel in Mecca, Saudi Arabia and the VIPs from the hotel's management cannot attend the ceremony since they are not Muslims. Perhaps they should consider temporary conversion, just like some Muslims use temporary marriage to justify sex with prostitutes. Both are frowned upon obviously, and I'm sure that the former is punishable by some pretty painful stuff in Sharia law.
Anyway, the point of this post is why does Mecca exclude non-Muslims from visiting? It even gives Iranians a lot of difficulty because they are Shia Muslims and considered almost from a different faith.
Why does Saudi Arabia have the right to apply this rule? Isn't Mecca (and Madina) Muslim cities for all the Muslims? Why shouldn't Muslims have a say about this, and I don't mean only those in the Saudi Government? I am sure that moderates in Iran, Morocco, the UAE, and Egypt would allow non-Muslims. After all, the big mosques in those countries are all open to non-Muslims.
What does this say about Muslims and Islam? We have something to hide? Of course so! I've been to the Vatican and La Sagrada Famiglia and probably a hundred churches and a few synagogues too. They don't ask for your faith, but for your respect. Most mosques actively welcome non-Muslims, but again, they ask for your respect.
(Image taken by BuJ, Barcelona, Catalan, Espana 2007)
I'm sure that the Prophet (PBUH) would support this, because he never actually banned peaceful non-Muslims from Mecca or Madina. In fact he actively traded with Jews and respected Christians (who respected him back). Jews and Christians are considered "people of the book" and should be protected in Islam. All of Judaism's and Christianity's prophets are revered in Islam.
Perhaps it's time for Saudi Arabia to wisen up, and open up.
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