Bulldozers are set to demolish a building in Mecca situated right above the site believed by scholars to be the birthplace of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
The Saudi Binladin Group, which is charged with redeveloping the historical area, plans to raze a small library on the site in order to build a modern complex which would include a presidential palace and imam’s residence.
The demolition would take place just steps away from Mecca’s Masjid al-Haram, or Grand Mosque, which surrounds the Ka’aba, one of Islam’s holiest sites.
The project, whose details were published by The Independent Friday, will bring about yet more changes to the landscape of a holy city which has seen massive redevelopment, damaging ancient and sacred structures.
The cost of this latest redevelopment project, which has yet to be approved, was estimated by The Independent at billions of dollars.
“The last remaining historical site in the kingdom is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, probably the most important site to the Muslim and Shia community around the world,” The Independent quoted Irfan al-Alawi, a historian and executive director of the UK-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, as saying.
“Most people are not even aware there are plans now to destroy it.”
The Saudi royal family has welcomed redevelopment projects in the holy city, even at the cost of destroying relics considered to be holy by pilgrims. The Saudi regime believes the relics encourage idol worship.