Posts Tagged ‘Trofimov’

The Siege of Mecca by Yaroslav Trofimov

April 4, 2008


The Siege of Mecca: The Forgotten Uprising in Islam’s Holiest Shrine and the Birth of Al-Qaeda

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi begins his set of cd lectures on the concept of the Mahdi in Islam by transporting the listener to the taking over of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by the Saudi Juhayman al-‘Utaybi and his followers in 1979 (1400 on the Islamic Hijri Calendar). This is because al-‘Utaybi claimed that his brother in law Muhammad Abdullah al-Qahtani was the Mahdi. From reading Trofimov’s book it seems that at the least al-‘Utaybi was able to convince Muhammad Abdullah himself and at the least scores of his followers that this was the truth.

al-utaybi.jpgJuhayman al-‘Utaybi

mahdi-yasir-qadhi.jpgThe Mahdi — Shaykh Yasir Qadhi

The purpose of this post is not to discuss the concept of the Mahdi in Islam, however, but to discuss Trofimov’s book. The book centers itself around the action in the Sacred Mosque in Mecca over several days beginning on November 20, 1979 which was the beginning of the year 1400 After the Hijrah of the Prophet (saw) on the Islamic calender. It is written as a thriller, fast paced with short chapters. The narrative is driven by accounts of the battle that took place in the mosque and its surroundings but the scene shifts to centers of power and decision making in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, at an Arab summit in Tunis, in Washington, D.C. and Tehran, and to scenes of violence that broke out in wake of the takeover of the mosque. This included anti-U.S. demonstrations and violence in places like Libya, Turkey, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. There was also an uprising against the Saudi royal family among the discriminated against Shi’a population of the Eastern Province. After detailing the events involved, Trofimov attempts to tie these events into much that would follow including the escalation of the conflict in Afghanistan, the assasination of Sadat, the conditions for the fallout between Osama bin Laden and the Saudi government and the resulting Al-Qaeda movement. (more…)