The Saudis have spoiled Mecca—but the British Museum doesn’t want you to know by Will Heaven | Martin Kramer on the Middle East | Scoop.it

Looming large over the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba (the black cube-shaped building that is the holiest site in Islam) is the largest and second tallest building in the world, called the Royal Mecca Clock Tower complex. You can’t miss it (see pic above) – unless, it seems, you’re a British Museum curator. The 2,000-foot hotel certainly didn’t feature in the exhibition. Mecca's mayor, Osama al-Bar, justifies all this by saying that “a tower is very much like a mountain in its height”. Never before have "mountains" looked so garish and distressingly ugly. Call me naive, but I trusted the British Museum (of which, by the way, I’m a paid-up member) to give me the full, uncensored picture. I should have paid more attention to the ominous note at the entrance: “In partnership with King Abdulaziz Public Library, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.”

 

• The Saudis have spoiled Mecca—but the British Museum doesn’t want you to know by Will Heaven http://tgr.ph/HAB9Z7