Accuracy in Media

Throughout the war in Iraq, much has been heard about the alleged desecration of Muslim holy sites by American troops killing terrorists. Even though the terrorists stay in mosques and store their weapons there, protests against American troops have been held around the world and Arab governments have issued statements of condemnation. 

What goes largely unreported is the fact that Muslims have been attacking, desecrating, and destroying their own mosques, shrines and holy sites. One case involves turning the Prophet Mohammed’s childhood home into a public restroom. The Wahhabism form of Islam regards these religious buildings, structures and relics as idols to be destroyed.

At the same time, the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam has had its mosques attacked and reduced to rubble and their creeds erased from the front of mosques. This sect is singled out as heretical because it is dedicated to non-violence and opposes terrorism.

The destruction is largely occurring in two countries?Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. One expert says that  “?it can be stated without any risk of contradiction that since the advent of Islam never as many mosques have been desecrated in any Islamic state as in Pakistan during the last 15 years.”

In June of last year, the Islamic Supreme Council of America, (ISCA) called for the support of the world community, UNESCO and the United Nations to stop the destruction of venerated Muslim relics in Saudi Arabia.  They issued two press releases detailing the damage being done. Three months later the Wall Street Journal covered the issue in a front page report, and the Weekly Standard followed suit, but a LexisNexis search turns up no other coverage.

ISCA revealed that the city planning board of Medina, Saudi Arabia, which is dominated by a notoriously extreme-Wahhabist mayor and city-planning commission:

  • Painted the famous green dome of the Holy Mosque of the Prophet silver, knowing that its original color is revered by all Muslims. After intense protest from the citizens of Medina the board restored the dome to its original green.

  • Ordered the destruction of five of the renowned “Seven Mosques” initially built by Prophet Muhammad’s daughter and four of his “greatest Companions”: Masjid Abu Bakr, Masjid Salman al-Farsi, Masjid Umar ibn al-Khattab, Masjid Sayyida Fatima bint Rasulillah and Masjid Ali ibn Abi Talib.

  • Ordered pulling down of “Al-mukabariyya,” the elevated location for the call to prayer in the Holy Mosque of the Prophet, built by Umar bin Abdul-Aziz in the 8th century.

  • Demolished the home in which the Prophet grew up, turning that site into a public restroom.

  • They had already built a library over the house in which he was born. Then they planned to destroy the structure completely.

  • Destroyed an 18th century Ottoman fortress, despite protests from Turkey. (This was the only action that received a little press coverage.)

The  destruction of the birthplace of the Prophet was mentioned in the Saudi newspaper al-Bilad in May, just as Muslims around the world were outraged over media reports of American “desecration” of Muslim sites in Iraq.

So obsessed were the media with American “desecration” that reporters failed to perceive a bigger picture at play: the expanding influence of Wahhabist fundamentalism in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, via the destruction of holy sites and artifacts, and what that means for the world.

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