Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Timeshare in Mecca

Luxury timeshares on offer at Islam's holiest pilgrimage site

Opponents say ZamZam moneyspinner makes mockery of spirit of hajj

Riazat Butt

Guardian November 14, 2006

It is the holiest site in Islam, the birthplace of the prophet Muhammad and the place the world's Muslim population turns and prays to five times a day.
Millions of people make a pilgrimage to Mecca every year to wash away their sins, but muddying the waters of this spiritual experience is a $390m (£205m) luxury timeshare development looming over the House of Allah.
Timeshare, a concept more usually associated with Torremolinos and the Algarve, has spread to Mecca and divided opinion in the Muslim world. Built by the Binladin Group, the construction firm founded by Mohammed bin Laden, the father of Osama, the ZamZam tower offers five-star accommodation, a shopping centre, restaurants and a car park.
Opponents say the skyscraper and its money-spinning potential goes against the spirit of hajj, a pilgrimage founded on purity, equality and simplicity.
Saudi authorities will use the initial revenue to maintain the holy site, but there is nothing to stop homeowners from selling or subleasing their timeshare for inflated prices. Irfan Ahmed al-Alawi, a historian and co-chair of the Islamic Heritage Foundation, set up to protect sites of cultural and historical interest in Mecca, said: "This timeshare is the exploitation and commercialisation of a holy city.
"The excuse given by the Saudi government is that there's not enough accommodation, but do you really need to be so close to the Grand Mosque and the House of Allah? ZamZam has facilities that are irrelevant. You don't need a shopping centre and restaurants when you're doing hajj. Marble flooring and five-star accommodation will not enhance your pilgrimage or make you a better Muslim. The idea that you can make a profit is especially offensive. Such desecration and disrespect would have been unthinkable 30 years ago."
A week's lease on a 33 sq metre studio with city views costs £3,600 in low season. A studio with views of the House of Allah, the Ka'bah, costs £93,500 to lease during the month of hajj. The Saudi government allowed the towers' construction to cater for Mecca's growing popularity as a year-round destination. Around 4 million people visit during hajj and 3 million visitors during Ramadan, but many Muslims visit at other, quieter times of the year. The Saudi government does not object to expanding facilities in Mecca.
A diplomatic source said: "People want to shop, somewhere to eat, they have the right to do these things. It is not haraam [forbidden] and we cannot stop them from wanting to do these things. People don't just do hajj and leave any more. For many it may be their only chance to visit so they want to be here as long as they can. They are getting quality accommodation and amenities. We need somewhere to put pilgrims because there are so many coming here. Besides, there are already five-star hotels in Mecca."
ZamZam is part of the Abraj al-Bait complex, one of the largest construction projects in the world, measuring 1.4m square metres. The 480m-high complex will include six other towers besides the ZamZam, two helipads and a four-storey shopping mall. It will be the tallest building in Saudi Arabia and, once completed, one of the tallest in the world. According to the Riyadh chamber of commerce and industry, Mecca has become a property hotspot. Investment during the last three decades has totalled £57bn and land in Mecca can cost up to £50,000 a square metre - more expensive than Manhattan or Mayfair.
Talal Mahmood Malik is chief executive of Alpha1Estates, which is selling timeshares for the 1,240 suites to Muslims in the UK and Europe. In the company brochure, prospective buyers are told they can expect an average rental return of between 10% and 15% a year.
He says: "You could see it as a financial investment and there will be cowboys interested in making a quick buck. But most people see it as a spiritual investment. There is a massive modernisation and regeneration programme in Mecca but non-Muslims won't be interested in investing. There's nothing to do there except pray and if you're non-Muslim you can't get into Mecca anyway."
He said that business had been a bit slow at first because the timeshare concept was "alien" to Muslims, but trade had picked up during Ramadan. He added: "We've been surprised by the number of young people buying timeshares, but there have been more sales to older Muslims, who want to retire there."
One timeshare owner, who did not wish to be named, said: "I have a large family and we go to Mecca every few years. It will provide an incentive for me to go there more often. I could make money from renting it out but, for me, it's not about that."
The Mecca goldrush has come at a price, says Dr Alawi, with many historic sites wiped off the map. He claims there are now fewer than 20 structures remaining in Mecca dating back to the time of Muhammad 1,400 years ago.
He adds: "The sad thing is that as Mecca becomes more commercialised its spiritual side will fade, but I don't hear Muslims complaining."

10 Comments:

Blogger Coach Factory said...

kate spade handbags, prada outlet, nike air max, louis vuitton, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet online, burberry outlet online, burberry outlet online, tiffany and co jewelry, michael kors outlet, gucci handbags, tory burch outlet, louis vuitton outlet, chanel handbags, jordan shoes, longchamp outlet online, nike shoes, louboutin shoes, red bottom shoes, coach outlet store online, kate spade outlet online, polo ralph lauren outlet, oakley vault, coach outlet, prada handbags, coach purses, louis vuitton handbags, longchamp handbags, christian louboutin outlet, oakley sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, polo ralph lauren, christian louboutin shoes, michael kors outlet online, ray ban outlet, nike free, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet store, michael kors outlet online, coach outlet, true religion, ray ban sunglasses

2:55 AM  
Blogger Coach Factory said...

abercrombie and fitch, longchamp pas cher, north face, vans pas cher, nike free, nike air max, longchamp, tn pas cher, hollister, air max pas cher, michael kors canada, chaussure louboutin, oakley pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, ray ban uk, louis vuitton uk, hollister, new balance pas cher, lululemon, nike free pas cher, north face pas cher, scarpe hogan, nike trainers, air max, nike roshe, ralph lauren pas cher, barbour, nike huarache, burberry pas cher, guess pas cher, nike air max, true religion outlet, longchamp, lacoste pas cher, sac michael kors, ralph lauren, louis vuitton pas cher, michael kors uk, nike blazer pas cher, mulberry, nike air force, air jordan, hermes pas cher, louis vuitton, nike roshe run, timberland, sac louis vuitton, ray ban pas cher, converse pas cher, true religion outlet

2:57 AM  
Blogger Coach Factory said...

herve leger, soccer jerseys, uggs outlet, jimmy choo shoes, lululemon outlet, nfl jerseys, canada goose pas cher, vans outlet, soccer shoes, roshe run, valentino shoes, moncler, rolex watches, chi flat iron, uggs on sale, canada goose, north face outlet, ghd, new balance outlet, north face jackets, mcm handbags, ugg soldes, moncler, canada goose uk, mont blanc pens, beats headphones, canada goose outlet, celine handbags, instyler ionic styler, ferragamo shoes, ugg boots, bottega veneta, ugg, moncler outlet, abercrombie and fitch, ugg outlet, wedding dresses, mac cosmetics, birkin bag, reebok outlet, canada goose outlet, insanity workout, moncler, giuseppe zanotti, asics shoes, hollister, canada goose outlet, babyliss pro, marc jacobs outlet, p90x workout

2:59 AM  
Blogger 林磊 said...

2015-10-22leilei
celine bags
canada goose jackets
Coach Outlet Store Online
Canada Gooses Sale,Canada Gooses Jackets,Canada Gooses Coats,Canada Gooses Parka
Toms Outlet Shoes
Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet Stores
coach outlet
oakley sunglasses cheap
Jordan Retro 13 Hot Sale
ugg boots
Abercrombie Store
Christian Louboutin Sale For Men And Women
Air Jordan 8
coach outlet online
michael kors uk
hollister uk sale
coach outlet online
Mont Blanc Pens
Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Shop
michael kors outlet online
louis vuitton handbags
cheap ugg boots
Coach Factory Outlet
timberland outlet
ralph lauren outlet
Coach Outlet Coach factory
Abercrombie kids - Official Site
michael kors outlet
Louis Vuitton Handbags Official Site
ralph lauren uk
cheap ugg boots
michael kors outlet clearance
true religion outlet
nike trainers
michael kors outlet

3:51 AM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

ninest123 16.03
replica watches, prada handbags, ugg boots, louboutin shoes, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, oakley sunglasses, michael kors, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, replica watches, longchamp, louis vuitton, prada outlet, chanel handbags, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, nike outlet, gucci outlet, jordan shoes, louis vuitton, nike air max, longchamp outlet, tory burch outlet, ugg boots, polo ralph lauren outlet, ugg boots, michael kors outlet, ray ban sunglasses, louboutin outlet, burberry outlet online, burberry, tiffany jewelry, christian louboutin outlet, uggs on sale, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet, nike air max, oakley sunglasses, tiffany and co, louboutin, louis vuitton, cheap oakley sunglasses, ugg boots, nike free, michael kors outlet

8:00 AM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

nike free run uk, sac guess, nike free, mulberry, vans pas cher, michael kors, air force, nike air max, tn pas cher, lacoste pas cher, true religion jeans, michael kors, nike air max, converse pas cher, hermes, kate spade handbags, nike air max, nike roshe run, ralph lauren uk, ray ban uk, vanessa bruno, ralph lauren pas cher, kate spade outlet, coach purses, lululemon, nike blazer, burberry, north face, hogan, louboutin pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, true religion jeans, timberland, coach outlet, air jordan pas cher, oakley pas cher, true religion outlet, hollister, coach outlet, air max, replica handbags, north face, michael kors, ray ban pas cher, michael kors, hollister pas cher, longchamp pas cher, new balance pas cher, sac longchamp, true religion jeans

8:04 AM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

hollister, mac cosmetics, birkin bag, nfl jerseys, valentino shoes, giuseppe zanotti, iphone 6s plus cases, nike roshe, north face outlet, iphone 6s cases, mcm handbags, soccer shoes, herve leger, ghd, iphone 5s cases, celine handbags, iphone 6 cases, timberland boots, nike trainers, hollister, abercrombie and fitch, asics running shoes, new balance, vans shoes, instyler, reebok shoes, s5 cases, oakley, jimmy choo shoes, beats by dre, ferragamo shoes, louboutin, soccer jerseys, babyliss, nike air max, nike huarache, ipad cases, lululemon, longchamp, bottega veneta, iphone cases, ralph lauren, p90x workout, mont blanc, wedding dresses, nike roshe, baseball bats, hollister, north face outlet, insanity workout, chi flat iron, iphone 6 plus cases

8:10 AM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

moncler, canada goose, moncler, coach outlet, juicy couture outlet, vans, sac louis vuitton pas cher, thomas sabo, converse, toms shoes, canada goose, pandora jewelry, hollister, swarovski crystal, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, converse outlet, ugg boots uk, louis vuitton, moncler, doudoune canada goose, louis vuitton, wedding dresses, canada goose, moncler, pandora charms, canada goose uk, gucci, moncler, marc jacobs, moncler, canada goose outlet, pandora jewelry, barbour, replica watches, moncler outlet, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, lancel, ray ban, montre pas cher, louis vuitton, karen millen, moncler, juicy couture outlet, links of london, ugg pas cher, barbour jackets, canada goose, pandora charms, swarovski, supra shoes, bottes ugg, ugg,uggs,uggs canada
ninest123 16.03

8:12 AM  
Blogger dong dong23 said...

nike free run
nfl jerseys wholesale
true religion outlet
air jordan 13
ray ban sunglasses
oakley sunglasses wholesale
michael kors uk
coach outlet online
toms shoes
louis vuitton handbags
tory burch flats
michael kors outlet
lebron james shoes 12
supra shoes
toms
pandora jewelry
christian louboutin outlet
oakley sunglasses
michael kors outlet
fitflops sale clearance
christian louboutin sale
ray bans
michael kors handbags
hollister clothing
adidas originals
michael kors purses
celine
supra sneakers
insanity workout
coach outlet online
michael kors outlet online
kate spade
jordans
christian louboutin outlet
louis vuitton outlet stores
fitflops sale clearance
cheap toms shoes
kevin durant shoes 8
jordan retro 3
louis vuitton outlet
20164.19wengdongdong

4:06 AM  
Blogger roba gad said...


Great article! We are linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the good writing.

https://decor-ksa.com/iron-fences/

7:14 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home