Monday’s bombing in the Saudi city of Medina stands out, even among the wave of terrorist attacks in recent days. It wasn’t the death toll. It didn’t produce the scenes of carnage like Saturday’s bombing in Baghdad that killed nearly 200 people or last week’s attack on the airport in Istanbul that left 44 dead.

It was the chosen target — Medina, the site of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad’s tomb and his house.

“It’s not like a Shiite shrine or a Sunni shrine,” says Jonathan A.C. Brown, the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization at Georgetown University. “This is literally the burial place of the prophet of God. This is his mosque, this is his house.”

Listen to the interview below or read full transcript on NPR.