Saudi authorities have dismissed claims on social media that Mecca has several plots of land with official permits ready to build mosques. Image Credit: SPA Via Reuters

Cairo: Saudi authorities have dismissed as incorrect claims circulated on social media that Mecca, home to Islam’s most sacred site, has several plots of land within the perimeter of the holy city with official permits ready to build mosques on them.

“This information is incorrect wholly and in details,” said the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance.

The ministry added that it is the official agency in charge of building mosques and issuing related permits in the kingdom.

The ministry warned against “circulating this undocumented information from persons who have no official capacity and from untrustworthy quarters, exploiting people’s sympathy, benevolence and readiness to contribute to mosque building” to collect donations.

Urging members of the public to observe preciseness and be on their guard against being misled by rumours, the ministry called for reporting it about such misconduct.

The ministry said it has started taking legal action against those standing behind “these unlawful acts” to be interrogated and get “deterrent penalties for these transgressions”.

Identities of suspects were not immediately clear.

Last April that coincided with the Islamic month of Ramadan, the ministry said 1,064 mosques in Mecca’s central area were ready to receive worshippers amid a surge in their numbers at the Grand Mosque.

Hundreds of thousands of worshippers from inside and outside Saudi Arabia flock to the Grand Mosque, which houses the Holy Kaaba, to perform prayers and Umrah or minor pilgrimage.