Why is the holiest site of Islam, Mecca, being compared, disparagingly to Las Vegas? Indeed, is Islam's holiest site fast becoming a spiritually fashioned Las Vegas, loosely speaking?
It could be because 95% of Mecca's millennium-old buildings have beendemolished in the past two decades to make way for a new glitzy and commercial modern-day pilgrimage experience that is the Saudi Arabian Kingdom's pride and joy. And rightly so, for a destination flocked to by millions each year, set to require the infrastructure to support many more Muslims in the years ahead, with numbers estimated to hit 17 million by 2025. However, there is a cautious whispering starting to voice its disapproval and fears that the Hajj experience in the 2010th decade is starting to resemble something a little different from the simpler Hajj experience of our forefathers.
Still, this criticism is offset by national pride in the Kingdom's rennovation and unashamed investment in Islam's holiest sites, the pride and joy of the King of Saudi Arabia, the Custodian of the Two Mosques.