Saudi man helps Jewish reporter sneak into Mecca, gets arrested — Analysis
A man who allegedly helped an Israeli TV journalist illegally enter Islam’s holiest city is facing prosecution
A Saudi Arabian man has been arrested for allegedly helping a Jewish television reporter from Israel enter Mecca in defiance of a ban on non-Muslims setting foot in Islam’s holiest city.
Prosecutors were referred to the unidentified Saudi citizen. “facilitating the entry of a non-Muslim journalist”According to the Saudi Press Agency, Mecca was invaded by local police late Friday. He’s accused of helping veteran Israeli television reporter Gil Tamary, who filmed himself visiting a key site on the hajj pilgrimage route and posted the 10-minute video on social media earlier this week. The footage also aired on Israel’s Channel 13, stoking outrage among many Muslims.
“Pointing out that entry to Mecca is prohibited for non-Muslims and the wrongdoers will be dealt with legally, the Mecca police asked all visitors who travel to Saudi Arabia to observe the laws of this country, especially the laws related to the two holy shrines,”According to the Saudi agency. “Ignoring these laws is unforgivable, and the wrongdoers will be dealt with seriously.”
Tamary’s footage showed the reporter visiting Mount Arafat, where Muslims gather to pray at the climax of the hajj each year. This is the site where Prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon almost 1,400 years ago.
Tamary was a quiet Hebrew speaker who claimed to have been the first Israeli Jew in Mecca. His Saudi driver was seen passing through an area where non-Muslims cannot pass.
“The dream came true,” Tamary said on the video as his driver passed Mecca’s Grand Mosque. The clean-shaven reporter, wearing Western attire and an Adidas hat after climbing Mount Arafat. He was also questioned by religious police to prove that he is a Muslim.
According to Saudi police, Tamary arrived in the country with a US passport. Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. This controversy occurs at a moment when Riyadh expands its ties to Israel. Saudi Arabia had earlier this month agreed to allow overflights from all commercial airlines, even Israeli ones, into its airspace.
Tamary’s stunt drew online backlash, prompting him to apologize “if anyone takes offense.”It was intended to “showcase”In a Tweet, he highlighted the beauty of Mecca and its importance. “Inquisitiveness is at the heart and center of journalism, and this type of firsthand journalistic encounter is what separates good journalism from great journalism.”
Critics, including both Muslims and Jews, weren’t convinced. “You disrespected your gracious hosts as a publicity stunt,” Avi KanerCo-owner, Morton Williams Supermarkets chain in New York. “You uncovered absolutely nothing. You have a lot of footage in the public domain that is about Mecca. Although you had the opportunity to apologize, instead of defending yourself, Shame on you.”
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