I am a Jew.
Can I go to Mecca?
Let's find out.
I called the Saudi Arabian Consulates General office in Los Angeles (310-479-6000) and tried to ask them if I could come to Mecca as a Jewish tourist.
And when I say tried to ask them I mean that I am not at all certain that I was entirely successful in this minor endeavor.
The first nice lady who I spoke with recommended that I speak with the Visa Office.
That office recommended that I speak with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
I asked people for their names, but they said that they were not allowed to give out that information, and I certainly cannot blame them for that.
But, I want to see Mecca.
And I want to know more about official Muslim-Saudi restrictions on Jews in the Holy City and the country as a whole.
Is that wrong?
And am I racist for wondering how it is that a Jew cannot even visit land where Jews lived for millenia prior to the rise of Islam?
Let's find out, shall we?
By the way, I do not often read Maureen Dowd of the New York Times but in her article concerning Mecca in 2010 she writes this terrific line:
Couldn’t Mecca, I asked the royals, be opened to non-Muslims during the off-season?:O)
Actually, now that I think on it, that could easily have been a line coming from the ample mouth of the late, great Joan Rivers.