Seventeen years ago, protestors from a religious minority known as Ismailis were murdered by Saudi Arabian police in a demonstration outside a Holiday Inn in Najran. Fourteen centuries before that, a Judaic warlord massacred hundreds, if not thousands, of pious Christians of that same oasis city by burning them in ditches when they refused to convert to his faith.
Though it doesn’t name Najran, the Quran seems to recount this story, commemorating the dead of these “companions of the trench” before promising a fitting retribution. “Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds will have gardens beneath which rivers flow,” says one translation. “Indeed, those who have tortured the believing men and believing women and then have not repented will have the punishment of Hell, and they will have the punishment of the Burning Fire.”