Turning Mecca into another mecca
Definitely a sign of the times... turning the holy city of Mecca into a mecca of shopping and indulgence. It's not enough that the luxury five-star hotels surrounding the site of the Kaaba make millions off the pilgrims who come to enjoy the ultimate religious experience in the most liberal ways. It's not enough that one has to enter the city with "tour operators" that charge outrageous amounts, in addition to the high costs of applying for a visa to preform the hajj and umrah trips. Now, Saudi officials have embarked on plans to open huge shopping centers housing the best the West has to offer, from coffee to couture. The sanctity of Mecca is no more. Say hello to the white and green cups of Starbucks and the little blue Tiffany boxes... Farewell Mecca, the Saudis have sold you to the ...
Five times a day across the globe devout Muslims face this city in prayer, focused on a site where they believe Abraham built a temple to God. The spot is also the place Muslims are expected to visit at least once in their lives.
Now as they make the pilgrimage clothed in simple white cotton wraps, they will see something other than the stark black cube known as the Kaaba, which is literally the center of the Muslim world. They will also see Starbucks. And Cartier and Tiffany. And H&M and Topshop.
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