March 28, 2006

Eminent domain in Mecca

Regular readers know I've been following the Kelo v. New London eminent domain story for an article I'm writing, focusing on the backlash to the case. Libertarians feared (quite rightly) that the decision would open the floodgates for local governments to unleash the bulldozers, plowing under people's rights as well as local history in favor of usually quite cheap and shoddy public projects.

Well, the backlash to the case caught most of the public law world quite by surprise: movements in most states to limit, curtail, or abolish eminent domain for "public purpose" private development, and nearly a year later, Ms. Kelo is still in her home and the city of New London's plans have gone completely off the track.

But the weirdest turn however is that the next big fight on this issue is taking place in..............Mecca.

From the Jafaryiani News:

Secretary-General for Saudi Supreme Association for Tourism prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz has condemned Saudi government plan to demolish Islamic signs and buildings in the holy cities of Medina and Makkah.

Talking to London-based Asharq Al-Awsat Arabic language newspaper on Sunday September 4, Abdulaziz stressed that powers that be have no legal authority to touch or demolish historical sites.

The daily writes that operations of demolition of important signs in the holy city of Medinah are neither the first nor would be the last, as earlier seven mosques including Bani Qoreyza Mosque were razed to ground despite their religious, historic and cultural importance as well as their status in the period of Prophet (peace be upon him and his pure progeny).

Here's where it gets funny:

According to reports some of Holy Makkah and Medina's most historic sites including a home of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his pure progeny), are under threat from Saudi real estate developers. ... Fatah writes, “What makes this demolition worse is the fact that the home of the Prophet is to make way for a parking lot, two 50-storey hotel towers and seven 35-storey apartment blocks; a project known as the Jabal Omar Scheme, all within a stone’s throw of the Grand Mosque."

The article continues by wondering where is the outrage in the Muslim world over the destruction of Mohammad's digs:

Yet despite this outrage, not a single Muslim country, no ayatollah, no mufti, no king, not even a Muslim Canadian imam has dared utter a word in protest. Such is the power of Saudi influence on the Muslim narrative.”

The writer wonders if the lack of a response is because Muslims have become so overwhelmed by the power of the Saudi riyal currency that we have lost all courage and self-respect? Or is it because they feel a need to cover up Muslim-on-Muslim violence, Muslim-on-Muslim terror or Muslim-on-Muslim oppression?

My suggestion to the author: find a way to blame it on Pfizer---that seems the easy way to do it around here.

From the hilarious Religious Policeman, who also has this piece on Camilla's fashion choices while visiting Saudi Arabia. Margaret Thatcher would have been proud.

Posted by Steve at March 28, 2006 07:27 AM | TrackBack

The tourism-dude's name is Sultan. What the hell?

Isn't every city a Muslim holy city of some kind? Even Detroit is, I think.

Posted by: TheRoyalFamily at March 28, 2006 04:26 PM

That is heartwarming!!! Thank-you so much for sharing. Islamic real estate developers mowing down Islamic property. I will be cheered for at least a week as I ponder this.

Posted by: American Daughter at March 29, 2006 12:05 AM