THE SIEGE OF MECCA
DIRK VAN DEN BERG
On November 20 at the peak of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, heavily armed Saudi fundamentalists storm the Grand Mosque of Mecca, Islam’s holiest shrine.
More than 100.000 pilgrims become hostages and the Mosque is rigged with explosives.
Lead by Saudi preacher Juhayman al-Utaiby, the group’s demands are radical: the immediate abdication of the Saudi royal family, the expulsion of all non-Muslims and a return to uncompromising Wahhabi Islam and Sharia law.
But the world isn’t looking. All eyes are focused on the Iranian hostage crisis that is unwrapping on the other side of the Persian Gulf. For three long weeks very few take notice that Saudi Arabia is on the brink of yet another Islamic revolution. When a French team of Special Forces finally resolves the crisis in a brutally efficient manner using a tonne of C-gas, it outrages the entire Muslim world. Including many Saudis, among them 20-year-old Osama bin Laden who is
lastingly impressed by the events and their gruesome solution.