Something Is Rotten in the State of Saudis: Non-Muslim Chinese Allowed Into Mecca

Leaked images of obviously non-Muslim Chinese tourists observing and photographing pilgrims in Mecca.

RUTH INGRAM
11/05/2019

“Are there no depths to which our so-called Muslim brothers won’t sink to bow to China’s influence,” asks America-based Uyghur refugee Tahir Imin, showing leaked pictures showing short-sleeved, and secular-clothed Han Chinese men, obviously not Muslim, standing on a balcony in Mecca photographing the pilgrims below.

From its foundation, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has enforced a strict policy of forbidding non-Muslims to visit the holy cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina. There are not even exceptions for ambassadors and other foreign dignitaries, unless of course they are Muslims themselves. But now it seems Saudi Arabia is making an exception—for Chinese tourists.

Imin is a former political prisoner, whose own brother and mother are in prison for his activism and who has had no contact with his own wife and daughter since his connections were severed with the mainland three years ago. He asks, “How this has been allowed to happen?”

“According to Islamic rules, non-Muslim visitors are not allowed to stay in the most sacred Islamic site —the house of Allah ‘Kaaba Sharif,’” he says, “but in these pictures the visitors, who are obviously non-Muslim Chinese, are observing the pilgrimage of Muslims as strangers.”

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