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Targeting the holiest place is their agenda

Just two days ago, on our television screens we saw how Saudi security forces thwarted a terrorist act that would have not only destroyed the sacredness of the Grand Mosque but also killed many worshippers. This incident clearly reveals the terrorists’ agenda, which begs the questions: Are they really Muslims, and do they understand what they are doing?

If we look back at history, we may possibly understand who would be interested in attacking the holiest Muslim site in the world. In 908 AD, the Grand Mosque was attacked by the Al-Qaramita, tens of thousands of Muslims were killed and the Black Stone (Al-Hajr Al-Aswad) was removed for 22 years. In 1979, Juhayman Al-Otaybi and his group occupied the Grand Mosque before they were captured.

That same year, Khomeini took control in Iran with the aim of exporting his deplorable, satanic revolution. In 1987, during the Haj there was a demonstration by many Iranian pilgrims, resulting in chaos in Makkah as they used machetes to kill those who opposed them.

In 1989, Hezbollah caused two explosions, one on a road leading to the Grand Mosque, the other on a nearby bridge. Also, Iranians attacked pilgrims with gas inside a tunnel and killed hundreds. These attacks in Makkah were not condemned by Tehran. Its puppets in Yemen, the Houthis, launched a ballistic missile at Makkah that was intercepted by the Saudi air force. Tehran always uses Haj to target the Grand Mosque and the other Muslim holy sites.

Due to these attacks, Saudi Arabia takes all necessary precautions to prevent them from happening again. Its forces note any activity that could lead to chaos and terrorism in Makkah during Haj. Nobody objects to the precautions except Iran, which prevented its citizens last year from performing Haj. That is clear proof that performing one of the pillars of Islam is not important to Tehran. It wants only to create turbulence.

We must choose either to be with terrorists and Iran, or with Saudi Arabia and its allies that will protect Arabs, Muslims and holy places.

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri

We all know the importance of the holy sites for Muslims. What is Iran seeking to prove by destabilizing our country? It tries to politicize our Islamic rituals and show that Saudi security forces are unable to protect the holy places. Fortunately, most of the world is aware of the Kingdom’s efforts to combat terrorism and how many times it has foiled attacks and plots.

The Kingdom will protect its land and holy sites, and will never allow states such as Iran to back terrorist groups and provide safe havens for their leaders. This also applies to Shiite militias across the region.

Given the attack against the holiest place in the holiest month, and the killing of Muslims, we ask our fellow Muslims to take serious measures against Iran in order to put an end to this destruction and terrorism. There is no choice but to stop its agendas and satanic projects in order to prevent this terror from contaminating our countries and our holiest sites.

We must choose either to be with terrorists and Iran, or with Saudi Arabia and its allies that will protect Arabs, Muslims and holy places. We must combine our efforts and coordinate with the international community and the UN so we can live in peace and rid our world of the scourge of terrorism.

• Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri is a political analyst and international relations scholar.