Saudi authority denies plans to destroy Prophet’s tomb
After Britain’s The Independent newspaper reported that the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed in the holy city could be ‘destroyed’
The General Presidency of the Two Holy mosques has denied reports of plans to destroy the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed in Madinah, Al-Jazirah newspaper reported Thursday.
On Monday, Britain’s The Independent newspaper reported that the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed in the holy city could be “destroyed” and the prophet’s remains removed to an anonymous grave.
The daily said the controversial proposals were part of a consultation document by a leading Saudi academic that had been circulated among the supervisors of the Prophet’s Mosque.
The General Presidency of the Two Holy mosques said the view of the academic did not reflect any “direction by the government, which is keen on serving the Two Holy mosques.”
Ahmad Mohammad al-Mansouri, the spokesman of the General Presidency of the Two Holy mosques, reiterated the organization’s view, saying the academic’s proposal was his alone.
The Independent has been accused by Mowafaq al-Nowaysar – deputy editor in chief of Saudi Arabia’s “Makkah” Newspaper – of “theft” and “mistranslating” an Arabic article that appeared in the Saudi daily on Aug. 25 on the subject.
In response to the allegations of “theft,” Deputy Managing Editor at The Independent, Will Gore, told Al Arabiya News on Wednesday they were “not aware of Makkah’s report” a week earlier.
The Independent had claimed the story as an exclusive, and many British news sites carrying the news have credited the paper as breaking the story.
The Independent’s story did not include any confirmation or comment from any Saudi officials. For its part, Al Arabiya has obtained a comment from government sources who confirmed that the issue is nothing more than a “proposal by an academic which was published in a specialized magazine and is not a government decision.”