Islam is big business. Mecca is the holy city were every Muslim is required to make a pilgrimage during their life. The city is part of the country today called Saudi Arabia. Prior to the discoery of oil, the pilgrims were the main economic activity. In the early 1800s, the Ottomans (basically today’s Turkey) seized control of the cities in a war with the Saudis
This al Jazeera story is definitely worth paying attention to. Al Jazeera is owned by the government of Qatar. The story is critical that the Saudi Government has just started bulldozing parts of the mosque complex, especially those from the Ottoman era. Saudi Arabia has put much money into building a rail line across the desert and constructing luxury hotels in Mecca.
The slide show includes a video of the new second level walkway which will allow 9000 additional people an hour to complete their walk around the sacred stone that is the objective of the pilgrimage. That construction project is being undertaken by the bin Ladin construction company.
Turkey seems poised to reassert its place in the Middle East and this action seems like a direct provocation using the holiest of holy sites. I don’t know enough of the history to understand what Qatar’s motivation is. My suspicion is the “Arab Spring” may be on its way toward Saudi Arabia