Saudi Arabia Prince Is Blaming African Pilgrims For Over 700 Dead During Mecca Stampede

Saudi Arabia’s head of the central Hajj commitee, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, has blamed the crush outside the holy city of Mecca that killed at least 717 people and injured 850 more on “some pilgrims with African nationalities”, reports ibtimes.co.uk.

People from several different countries are reported to have died in the stampede, which took place when two groups of pilgrims arrived at a crossroads on Street 204 at the tent city of Mina for a traditional stone-throwing ritual.

Prince Khaled’s controversial remarks on undisciplined pilgrims were echoed by Saudi health minister Khaled al-Falih, who was quoted by El-Ekhbariya television as saying that “many pilgrims move without respecting the timetables [set by authorities, which was the] principal reason for this type of accident. If the pilgrims had followed instructions, this type of accident could have been avoided.”

The stone-throwing ritual emulates the actions of Prophet Abraham, who is believed to have stoned the devil at three locations when he attempted to discourage Abraham from God’s order to sacrifice his son Ishmael. God eventually spares the boy and sends a sheep to be sacrificed in his place.

Muslims gathered until dawn at the Muzdalifah where they picked their pebbles and put them in empty water bottles. They had spent a day of prayer on a vast Saudi plain and Mount Arafat, which sits 10km from Mina. The ritual itself takes place at a five-storey, 1km-long structure known as the Jamarat Bridge, near the scene of the crush.

%d bloggers like this: