West News Wire: The occurrence of several deadly incidents during the Hajj rituals, which resulted in the death and injury of thousands of people during Hajj, has questioned the adequacy and ability of the Saudis to manage one of the largest Muslim gatherings in the world.

The numerous incidents that occurred over the past years in one of the largest Muslim gatherings in the world in Mecca and during the Hajj rituals, has plunged the ability of the Saudi organizers into an aura of mystery.

The presence of millions of eager Muslims from four corners of the world and the establishment of the magnificent Hajj rituals on special days requires high management and a lot of capabilities, which the government of Saudi Arabia seems to be deprived of.

The reason for this claim is the bitter events that happened with the pilgrims in the past years during the Hajj rituals and as a result of this incompetence, many people have lost their lives and many more have been injured.

In July 31, 1987, thousands of pilgrims in Mecca were attacked by the security forces of Saudi Arabia, and led to the deaths of over 400 people.

The attack on the pilgrims showed that the government of Saudi Arabia not only does not deserve to serve the two sacred shrines in this country, but also violates the commandments of the holy book.

In another incident, on July 3, 1990, a stampede of religious pilgrims left over 1426 people killed and thousands of others injured in a pedestrian tunnel in Mecca leading to the Grand Mosque. The accident happened in a 540-meter-long and 10-meter-wide tunnel that connects Mecca to Mina and Arafat. The tunnel was under construction and was part of the Saudi government’s 15-billion-dollar development project.

When the pilgrims were heading towards the stoning, the rail of the pedestrian bridge bent and 7 people fell down onto the people who were leaving the tunnel. While the nominal capacity of the tunnel was 1,000 people, about 5,000 people were moving in it. So, when the accident happened, practically 5 thousand people were trapped in the tunnel at a temperature of 42 degrees, and the failure of the ventilation system of the tunnel caused the casualties to increase.

However, the place of stoning the devil has witnessed the most unfortunate incidents for pilgrims and proves the depth of the inability of the Saudi government in managing the Hajj rituals. In 1994, 270 people died when too many rushed forward for the stoning. While the Saudi authorities claimed after that they had made changes to prevent similar incidents from occurring at this point, in 1998, at least 118 people were killed in a similar situation and thousands of others were seriously injured.

In both 2001 and 2002, more than 30 people died at Mina and, in 2003, another 244 pilgrims were killed in a stampede there. In 2006, 363 were killed.

Stampedes have not been the only source of tragedy. In December 1975 an exploding gas cylinder caused a fire in a tent colony and resulted in the deaths of 200 pilgrims. In 1997, a fire in a tent in Mina killed 340 people and injured more than 1,500.

The Saudi government, tried to justify its incompetence in managing the Hajj rituals and for the repetition of these incidents, declared the pilgrims to be main cause of these incidents ‘ for their insistence on carrying their belongings during stoning.

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In 2006, 76 pilgrims lost their lives and hundreds were injured due to the collapse of an 8-story hotel building in Mecca. Official reports from Saudi Arabia indicated that the building of this hotel was more than 40 years old at the time of the collapse and was not a suitable place for pilgrims to stay.

In 2015, upwards of over 2,000 people died in a stampede in Mina.

On November 20, 1979 a group of about 200 militants occupied the Grand Mosque (three Frenchmen, reportedly, who had been hastily converted to Islam for the occasion and entered the city with special permission, leaving about 250 dead, and 600 wounded.

A crawler crane collapsed over the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on 11 September 2015, killing 111 people and injuring 394 others. The city was preparing for the Hajj pilgrimage. The accident has been cited as the deadliest crane collapse in history. While the government of Saudi Arabia declared the cause of this accident to be unfavorable weather conditions and strong winds, the Arab media published pictures of the foundations of this crane and rejected the claim of Saudi government. They stated that the reason for the fall of the crane was not complying with international standards in the construction of the foundations and other parts of this crane.

But without a doubt, one of the most bitter and painful tragedies of Hajj dates back to 24th of September 2015. The disastrous crush took place in Mina at the intersection of streets 204 and 223 leading up to Jamaraat Bridge. The reason for this disaster was declared to be the crowding of pilgrims and it killed 2341 pilgrims.

The exact number of casualties in this incident was never officially announced by the Saudi government. Two days after the incident, the organizers announced the death toll of 769 people, while according to field observations, a population of about 8 thousand people died in this incident. Based on the total statistics extracted from the separate reports of the countries, the number of dead people was 2431 and the reason declared by the Saudi government was stampede, but in fact, it was nothing but the incompetence and the organizational failures by law enforcement officials. In this disaster, 427 people were missing and thousands were injured.

All these cases can indicate only one thing, and that is the incompetence and inability of the Saudi government and Saudi authorities to ensure the safety and save the lives of the pilgrims during the rituals. This led to the protest of many Islamic countries and Muslims from the four corners of the world. It even caused Islamic countries to present a plan to internationalize the administration of the Hajj rituals after the Mina tragedy and to hold several serious meetings in this regard.

The common point of view of all the attendees and participants in these meetings and conferences was the inability of the Saudi government to hold the Hajj rituals and the incompetence of the Saudi officials in managing this pilgrimage to ensure the safety of the lives of pilgrims.

All these cases have caused Islamic countries to worry about the life of their pilgrims and their health until the end of the Hajj every year.


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