PBS Explores The Siege of Mecca

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

On November 20, 1979, at 5:30 in the morning, hundreds of heavily armed men led by 42- year-old bedouin preacher and former national guard corporal Juhayman al Utaybi took over the holiest shrine of Islam, the Grand Mosque of Mecca.

Trapping almost 100,000 pilgrims inside, they demanded the immediate abdication of the Saudi royal family, the expulsion of all foreigners and the kingdom’s return to pure Islam. The resulting battle lasted 15 days and cost hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. The Siege of Mecca (Wednesday 20th, 8.40pm) draws on first-hand accounts and private archives from Arab, French, German and American military, intelligence and civilian sources to uncover what really happened during the siege, what consequences it had, and how it still affects the world today.


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