Statement on the Mina Stampede During Hajj
On the tragedy of the Hajj Stampede at Mina on the 10 Zul Hijjah, World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League (WABIL) offers its sincere condolences to the Hujjaj who were trampled, crushed and injured. WABIL extends its condolences to the families of those killed in this terribly managed disaster that was the result of sheer negligence, resulting in the deaths of so many humble visitors at Islam’s oldest and holiest sanctuary and house of worship, the Kaaba.
As an eye witness to this horrific event, I can testify that I myself witnessed how Hujjaj were been restricted in movement but only in the direction ordered by the Saudi police. No water facilities were available for hundreds of thousands of Hujjaj who were walking from Muzdalifa towards the Jamarat in Mina. The flow of Hujjaj was disrupted by security forces escorting some princes, who blocked some roads and caused many Hujjaj to panic and push others, while Hujjaj did not have any scope to move. Many of them fell down because of this and either died or were injured. No ambulances were available on time, and no water was been offered to those Hujjaj who fell down. Dead bodies of Hujjaj were left on the road for long hours under the severe heat of the sun. Later the Hujjaj’s dead bodies were kept inside containers piled up like rubbish. Hundreds of injured Hujjaj were left on the road without any proper medical care.
Since the last few days, the Saudi government has played nothing but a blame game, firstly blaming the African Hujjaj of being unruly uncivilised people and causing the crush, which is indeed an uncalled for racist statement, and then starting a propagandist media campaign against the Iranian Hujjaj, claiming that the Shias caused this mayhem. These allegations are outrageous and unjust. We Shias are most peaceful, God-fearing people, who have suffered for centuries at the hands of the predecessors of the Saudi mentality. Iranians and Shias have nothing to do with this disaster, as the management of Hajj is fully in the hands of the Saudis, not the Iranians. In fact, if we look at the management of the Arbaeen gathering in Karbala, Iraq, then we see that the Shias host more than 20 million visitors, with utmost organisation, peace, and respect for Imam Hussain (as)’s guests. Further, most casualties and missing persons in the Mina tragedy are of Iranian nationality, so it is inhuman to accuse those victims who have suffered the most.
The disaster was due to the total mess and mismanagement of the Saudi government. It has no real care in the world for hosting the guests of Allah, and in fact a Saudi ‘prince’ came to Mina with an entourage of over 300 bodyguards, blocking off one of the exits. We saw with our eyes people being crushed to death, because their lives were not as important as this one prince for whom roads were blocked and cleared. In fact to blame the Shias is causing a wave of shiaphobia, where we are hearing many Salafi Wahabi minded Muslims now expressing hate for their Shia brethren. Causing such ignorant fear and hate of Shias is highly irresponsible of the Saudi government.
This terrible disregard for the lives of the pilgrims renders this an international tragedy. The Saudi authorities have proved that they are wholly incompetent at managing Hajj, Indeed the Hajj ritual does not belong to any specific government but to the entire Muslim Ummah. The Muslim Ummah is entitled to know all the facts and reasons of this tragedy which can happen again under the same mismanagement.
WABIL therefore proposes that an independent inquiry is immediately set up as it is crucially required in which all Muslim countries which had casualties must be involved along with the United Nations. WABIL further proposes that the international Muslim community forms a forum, and takes the organisation and management of the Hajj out of the inept hands of the Saudis and organises it through an international competent community. We at WABIL offer our services as required in this noble task of serving the honourable guests of Allah.
WABIL once again offers it condolences to the families of those killed, injured, and still missing. We pray that these disasters at Hajj through mismanagement are averted and the lives of innocent people protected.
Sayed Mohammad Al-Musawi
World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League (WABIL)