Do you remember what happened when some pilgrims wanted to visit the Uhud Cave in Medina? Actually, this is not just the case in that location; it is the same thing with almost all what is left of the historic Islamic sites in Saudi Arabia. The Wahabbis don’t believe in the importance of such sites, and therefore they either destroy them or build walls around them to prevent others from seeing them. By sticking to the Wahabbis’ narrow interpretation of Islam, I think that our country is missing on some exceptional opportunities in religious tourism, and if SCT are serious about making tourism a real part of the national economy they should work very hard to change the current situation.
In a recent column, Abdul Aziz Al-Thukair suggests that the Ministry of Pilgrimage could arrange trips to Islamic sites, but I don’t see this as the best solution. I think such trips should be arranged by tourism companies, and can be supervised by SCT, but it is certainly has nothing to do any other part of the government, especially not the Ministry of Pilgrimage, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, and the Religious Police. Tourism is a business, and these three entities clearly don’t know business.