Even accompanied by their husbands or male family members on the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, women are subjected to sexual assaults, harassment, and molestation as they make their way around the sacred Kabaa shrine.
In fact, this is a problem that is widely understood by Muslims, but they close their eyes to it because they don’t want to tarnish Islam and its “holy land.”
Middle East Eye Hundreds of women have shared their stories, and thousands of people have retweeted those accounts. Reading through the stories, one is struck by the common threads among them: Women being grabbed by the buttocks during Tawaf (the circling of the Kaabah at the start and end of Hajj); men pressing their erections into women’s backs during Tawaf; women having their breasts fondled while trying to kiss the Kaabah’s black stone; sexually explicit verbal harassment from men around the Sacred Mosque in Mecca.
Other women describe the complicity of Saudi guards and policemen in silencing women who report harassment. There are even reports of guards participating in the assaults themselves.