The authorities in Saudi Arabia at the Hajj pilgrimage have been labeled “beyond human control.” A top Saudi Arabian cleric has gone on record to refer to the loss of 769 lives as such despite an international outcry. Not surprisingly, Iran is not settling for this explanation. Over 130 of the dead were Iranian natives, and Saudi King Salman has ordered a comprehensive review/investigation into these matters, BBC News reports.
The Hajj stampede tragedy took place in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, during the last rite of the Hajj in Mecca, where more than two million faithful were taking part in the religious tradition. In the ceremony in Saudi Arabia, participants were following the tradition of throwing seven stones at Jaramat (stone pillars); the pillars stand in the location where it is believed that Satan tempted Abraham. In the high temperatures of Saudi Arabia, two huge lines of religious pilgrims intersected at right angles, ultimately resulting in the deadly stampede.
In addition to the 769 deaths, over 850 people were injured in the Saudi disaster. The stampede came just two weeks after a crane collapse in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which killed 109.
The international community isn’t responding positively to the claims of the Saudi government/religious leaders that the recent disaster was beyond human control. While the theocratic leaders, including Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin-Abdullah al-Sheikh, reiterate that nothing could have been done to prevent the tragedy, there are many who aren’t so sure.
“As for the things that humans cannot control, you are not blamed for them. Fate and destiny are inevitable.”
Other government leaders, such as Iranian Prosecutor General Sayed Ibrahim Raisi, strongly believe that Saudi Arabia should be held accountable for the carnage that took place at the Hajj pilgrimage. Raisi recently stated that Iran will seek “the trial of the Saudi royal family” over its perceived crimes in international courts.
The statement came as the pope addressed the U.N. on Friday. The Pontiff mentioned a plethora of global issues, including the tragedy in Saudi Arabia. His Holiness offered his heartfelt condolences. He did not, however, address the migrant crisis impacting the Middle East and Europe.
Today, families in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East are struggling to come to terms with the horror of the Hajj stampede, which claimed lives from over a dozen nations. Many of the pilgrims were from poorer countries in the region, leading many of the critics of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi response to the tragedy to accuse the nation of pointing the finger at those who couldn’t possibly be blamed.
Some see the criticism of Iran towards Saudi Arabia in the midst of this horrific tragedy to be politically motivated. Iran has given the appearance of pouncing on the disaster as part of the nations continuous vying for political “supremacy” in the Middle East. Others wholeheartedly believe that Saudi Arabia failed in its due diligence to protect the safety of the Hajj pilgrims, which show up annually. This is the single deadliest incident to befall the Hajj ceremony in Saudi Arabia in 25 years.
[Image Courtesy Muhannad Fala’ah/Getty Images]