“Medina: Saudis take a bulldozer to Islam’s history,” was the title of an article in The Independent on the Oct. 26. The details are extensive and my space is limited, so I’ll limit myself to the following quote as an example: “The religious police go to enormous lengths to discourage people from praying at or visiting places closely connected to the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) while powerful clerics work behind the scenes to promote the destruction of historic sites.”
Excuse me! What has the so-called “religious police” to do with the promotion of destruction or construction of historic sites? In Saudi Arabia, historic sites are the responsibility of the Saudi Commission of Tourism & Antiquities.
And wait until you read this: “In most of the Muslim world, shrines have been built. Visits to graves are also commonplace.” This line made it truly hard for me to determine the report’s journalistic genre! Is it cultural, political or sectarian?
I believe that the writer committed the act of bulldozing. There was an intended confusion that wasn’t journalistically justified. Although the purpose of the article remained hard to pinpoint, for me at least, it was never random.
(The writer is Chairman, Saudi Cartoon & Animation Society)