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"Days of Haj are here"

"Days of Haj are here"

Author: M. K. Gokhale
Publication: Tarun Bharat (Marathi Daily)
Date: February 9, 2002

(Translated excerpts from Marathi)

Ibn Saud freed Arabia from the yoke of Turkey and hence it is called Saudi Arabia.

In olden times, when there was no commutation facilities, it was a severe ordeal to travel through the desert of Arabia and return home. Now this ordeal is over.  But another danger has taken its place. Every year, events like fire to tents, stampedes etc. have become a common phenomenon. But there are some uncommon events also.

In 1979, one Sunni Muslim announced himself to be the New Prophet and his companions took over the Kabah Masjid. There was a fierce battle between these people and the Saudi soldiers in which minimum 100 persons (official figure- actual might be much more) were killed.

In 1987, a still more terrible incident took place. Ayatullah Khomeni of Iran issued a Fatwa stating, "Saudi ruling dynasty is a wicked and unbeliever,  It has no right to keep control over the holy places of the Prophet."  As a result, the Irani piligrims made great demonstrations before the Kabah.  In the battle that ensued, about 400 people were killed.

This year's Haj is being celebrated under the deep shadow of Black Tuesday. Out of 19 accused for it, minimum 15 are Saudi Muslims. The budget for the Haj this year is very high. On Jeddah port, an American Security agency has been employed. Its employees are standing along with the Govt authorities and they keep scanning the eyes of the people arriving. Their sharp sight immediately zeroes on the suspects, who are taken to a special room where a sophisticated machine digitally scans their eyes,  in the next room French officers take their fingerprints and in minutes a file containing all these details along with information on the suspect's passport, visas etc. is ready. In a short time, the pilgrim is free to go to the town.

Saudi Arabia the motherland, fatherland etc. of Islam, but its Government has been consistently backing the Western nations all along. When Israel was created, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan were enraged and decided to annihilate it. But the Saudi Arabia never participated in this struggle. At the most, it was engaged marginally without actually getting involved.

Saddam Hussain of Iraq attacked Kuwait. Kuwait is a Muslim country and Iraq is also a Muslim country. But an outsider America intervened and set Iraq ablaze with Bombs. In this war too, Saudi Arabia was the partner of America. Even their own millionaire Osama bin Laden declared jehad against West and America.  And yet Saudi Arabia is on American side only.  Hence this Jehadi leader had to take asylum in the hilly tracks of Afghanistan.

For more than ten years American army has established a large base in S. Arabia who is bearing its expenses.  Now the Saudi officers are helping American soldiers in hunting the Al Quaida's terrorists hiding there..

Now here is a different tune from the Crown Prince Nawaf Ibn Abdal Aziz (who is de facto the Sultan as the sultan himself is bedridden for long time).  He has criticised President Bush's stand on Israel - Palestine Conflict and stated that America should respect Arafat as a Peace Messenger.  He has also said that he feels sympathy for the cause for which Osama bin Laden is fighting.  However, he does not justify the 11th Sept incident.

According to American sources, 95% Saudi Arabian youngsters in the age group of 25-40 support Osama Bin Laden.

But again, Nawaf declares that he does not endorse Osama's demand that American Soldiers should be driven out of Saudi Arabia.  However, he will not approve of US attacking Iraq or any Arab or Islamic nation henceforth..

In short, they want the cake and eat it too. He want to criticise American policies, but have its soldiers so that he is well protected and wants support America all the time, but want to declare himself to be with the Arabic/Muslim Nations.

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