The Siege of Mecca

About the Show

On November 20, 1979, at 5:30am, hundreds of heavily armed men took over the Grand Mosque of Mecca. Within minutes, they transformed Islam's holiest shrine into a fortress - and a trap for almost 100,000 pilgrims inside. This was the beginning of the Siege of Mecca. The leader of the insurgents was 42-year-old Bedouin preacher and former National Guard corporal Juhayman Al Utaybi. He and his group demanded the immediate abdication of the Saudi Royal Family, the expulsion of all foreigners and the Kingdom’s return to the pure Islam of the first generations. The ensuing 15 days of battle claimed hundreds, if not thousands, of lives, shook Saudi Arabia to its foundations, destabilised the Middle East and pushed the global balance of power to the brink of collapse. Four decades later, the Siege of Mecca is still shrouded in mystery and protected by silence and fear. This film finally reveals what really happened during the siege, and its lasting impact.