David Calling

The David Pryce-Jones blog.

A Church in Mecca?


Paul Goble is one of those ex-CIA men with an academic bent. He made a reputation commenting on religious and ethnic matters in the old Soviet Union, mostly in the excellent bulletin published by Radio Free Europe. Undoubtedly a serious guy, otherwise a scoop he’s put out on his blog might be too good to be true. It appears that the Saudi King Abdullah is offering to build a mosque and Islamic cultural center in Moscow. As it is, four mosques already serve the city’s Muslims, said to number two million. Russian Orthodox spokesmen have responded : the Saudis can have their mosque on condition that Christians build a church in Mecca. Mecca! Where infidel feet are not permitted to tread. And in a country where Christians accused of too much zeal — for instance, trying to convert people or to say their prayers openly — risk having their head sliced off. The city fathers of Geneva once made the same request for a church in Riyadh when the Saudi king asked for another mosque on the shore of their lake. No deal. Reciprocity evidently works.


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