"To me, Mecca is not a city. It is a sanctuary. It is a place of diversity and tolerance. ... Unfortunately it isn't anymore," said Sami Angawi, a Saudi architect who has devoted his life to preserving what remains of the area's history. "Every day you come and see the buildings becoming bigger and bigger and higher and higher."
Abraj al-Bait is a complex of seven towers, some of them still under construction, rising only yards from the Kaaba, the cube-like black shrine at the center of Muslim worship in Mecca. "Be a neighbor to the Prophet," promises an Arabic-language newspaper ad for apartments there.
An no one form this Saudi ad company has had a fatwa issued calling for their head? Talk about your double standards.
Saudi Arabia is trying to better serve the growing upscale end of the pilgrimage crowd, while investors — many of them members of the Saudi royal family — realize the huge profits to be made.
Never mind. That explains it all.