“We don’t want to bring New York to Mecca,” [ Oh! The irony!] Mr. Angawi said. “The hajj was always supposed to be a time when everyone is the same. There are no classes, no nationalities. It is the one place where we find balance. You are supposed to leave worldly things behind you.”
The government, however, seems unmoved by such sentiments. When I mentioned Mr. Angawi’s observations at the end of a long conversation with Prince Sultan, the minister of tourism and antiquities, he simply frowned.
“When I am in Mecca and go around the kaaba, I don’t look up.”
He said this with a straight face, the Minister of Antiquities!, (wouldn't his job be preservation of the old city??), before closing his eyes and covering his ears, chanting "lalalala I can't hear you!". Clearly a man of the people. Wonder if he's heard of the Medicis, their posh palaces hugging the local cathedral, chummy, not to say 'close', with the Pope and all. Or the Louis line in France. If Islam is headed in this class based direction, not sure there's much more anyone needs to do to encourage its demise. Catholicism had a head start historically, and look where the church is today. Believers dropping like flies post Vatican II and fallout from what I like to call "The Diddling". Disney folk music, dumbing down the mass for the 'masses'. Pshaw!