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News Brief

October 19, 1924
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The occupation of Mecca by Wahabi tribesmen is confirmed by the British consular representative at Jeddah.. Trustworthy reports indicate that no excesses have been committed, except that King Hussein’s palace has been looted with the willing assistance of certain disaffected Hejaz tribes. The consular authorities at Jeddah succeeded in getting a letter delivered to the Wahabi leader, who replied with assurances of his pacific intentions toward all except Hussein himself.

The question as to what repercussions this event will have on the Moslem world gives rise to much speculation here. The Times, in an editorial, declares that the Wahabis entrance into the Holy City is “a challenge to the Moslem world.” Other observers, however, point out that Indian Moslem leaders already publicly announced that they would welcome Ibn Saud’s guardianship of the Holy places in preference to Hussein’s.

It may be doubted, however, whether the people of Mecca, or even pilgrims, will approve of shops being shut at prayer time, tobacco smoking in the streets strictly forbidden, ritualistic practices and invocations to saints sternly put down, as in the cities of Ibn Saud’s own dominions in Nejd. The Medinites, too, who have been accustomed to receive much material benefit from pilgrims to Muhammad’s tomb, no less than intending pilgrims thither, would also be aggrieved should this lesser pilgrimage, of which the Wahabis strongly disapprove, be forbidden in future.

Some observers think, however, that Ibn Saud, remembering the fate of his ancestors, who held Mecca and Medina 10 years and found their power utterly broken shortly after, will not risk the danger of history repeating itself, but will retire after imposing suitable terms on Hussein’s son and successor, Ali.

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