1979 Siege of Mecca

Sep 2010
9,988
Bahrain
#1
During the siege of Mecca in 1979, Around 500 armed Islamic dissidents shocked the Islamic world by seizing control of the Masjid Al Haram (the mosque of Mecca). The insurgents declared that the[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahdi"][/ame] Mahdi or redeemer of Islam, had arrived in the form of one of the insurgents' leaders and called on Muslims to obey him.

The armed dissidents took up defensive positions around the mosque, in anticipation for a Saudi counter offense.



Saudi Forces performed a siege on the mosque that lasted for two weeks.
The snipers continued to shoot any soldiers they saw. Before long, Pakistani and French special forces were called in to intervene.

An assault was launched onto the complex. After some time, it succeeded. But at the cost of 127 pilgrims and 117 gunmen.

The leaders and remaining gunmen were alleged to have been quickly tried and beheaded.

The instance caused widespread shock in the Islamic world and an embarrassment to the Saudi government.

Discuss :)
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,859
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#9
The insurgents declared that the Mahdi or redeemer of Islam, had arrived in the form of one of the insurgents' leaders and called on Muslims to obey him.
A first comment is easy: they were wrong regarding the arrival of the "Mahdi" ...

I find interesting that this extremists decided to aim the most symbolic place of Islam. In Christianity I cannot imagine the same: that a group of extremists would aim to hit the Vatican [may be St. Peter Cathedral]. The conception of symbolic place in Christianity has got less material / terrestrial meaning [the "celestial Jerusalem" is there in the Bible].

Anyway the action begun to underline a certain movement of Islamic extremists ready to challenge traditional Islam [to achieve what? An "Islamic global revolution"?].

P.S. But, out of curiosity: what is this figure of the "Madhi"? And which is his role in modern Islamic tradition?
 

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