Syed Ali Mujtaba
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has recently announced the new Murabba project called as ‘Al Mukab’ which plans to build a gigantic ‘New Kaaba’ in the middle of a new city center being developed in the capital Riyadh.
It will be a mammoth 400-meter-long, wide and deep structure made up of overlapping triangular forms, in an architectural style inspired by the Najd architectural style- in reference to the central Arabian ancestral homeland of the ruling Al-Saud dynasty.
Mohammad bin Salman’s “new Kaaba,” will feature a museum, a tech and Design University, a multipurpose theatre and an immersive theatre, and more than 80 entertainment venues.
The building of the ‘new Kaaba’ in Riyadh has drawn flake from different quarters. Some say this project is a new ‘Kaaba’ of entertainment. Another quip, the Kaaba in Makkah is being shifted to the Kaaba in Riyadh which means the Kaaba devoted to Islam is being shifted to another Kaaba that’s devoted to capitalism.
Prince Salman’s new plans follow the futuristic smart city project NEOM, which will include a 170-kilometer-long mega city.
The $500 billion development has courted controversy over its lavish cost, its impact on the environment, its feasibility, and alleged human rights abuses, including forced displacement of tribes, etc.
The crown prince has promised in 2017 that he will bring back a moderate version of Islam that existed before 1979, where Muslims and people of other faiths co-existed peacefully without a sense of supremacy and dominance.