In what’s happening with disturbing regularity, hundreds and hundreds of Muslim pilgrims are killed during the once in a lifetime required Hajj to Mecca. Among the latest carnage are accusations of the Saudi government treating the dead no better than piles of garbage. Even worse, one reputable news service is reporting that survivors were trapped among the dead, yet died during the mass of confusion.
As reported by Esquire magazine on Sept. 24, 2015, and also by Toronto Sun (of Canada) reporter Tarek Fatah on Sept. 25, 2015 via Twitter, of the at least 717 people killed in a stampede of humanity in the Islamic pilgrimage site in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the Saudi officials are being accused of treating the dead with little regard to common decency. As the Sun’s Fatah sent via his Twitter account, two of the three photos show what appears to be a bulldozer-like front-end loader literally scooping up human corpses and dumping them into heavy duty trash trucks.
The third and most prominent of the photos sent out by Fatah is also featured by Esquire, showing a stack of dead bodies piled 5 high. Also on Sept. 25, 2015, Nidal al-Mughrabi of the Reuters news service reported of the terrifying moment when two massive groups of pilgrims literally crashed into each other, resulting in the 717 reported dead thus far and 863 injured.
As the throngs of people were converging on a crossroads in the Mecca area of Mina, a few miles east of Mecca, on their way to performing the “Stoning of the Devil” ritual at Jamarat, it was then they crashed into each other. As one eyewitness who requested to remain anonymous stated, “There were layers of bodies, maybe three layers. Some people were alive under the pile of bodies and were trying to climb up but in vain, because their strength failed and they dropped dead.” Daytime temperatures in Mecca at the time was 105°F (40.5°C).
Hakim, from Morocco, said: “It is simply scary to hear how people crushed one another. More frightening is that we do not know how it happened.” An anonymous Algerian told his nation’s al-Shurouk television: “We saw death: People were stepping over the mutilated bodies in front of you, four or five on top of each other.”
Saudi Health Minister Khalid al-Falih said “an investigation would be conducted rapidly and a final toll of dead and wounded calculated.” Blaming the stampede on the pilgrims themselves, the Minister al-Falih added the cause “was perhaps because some pilgrims moved without following instructions by the relevant authorities.”
Citing multiple sources, Esquire also cited that incidents such as the latest “are not uncommon during the Hajj. In 2006, for example, hundreds of people were killed in a similar stampede in Mina. But Thursday’s event was the deadliest such incident since 1990, when 1,426 pilgrims died in a stampede. Earlier this month, 109 people were killed in a crane collapse in Mecca in preparation for the pilgrimage.”
Iran, Saudia Arabia’s chief rival in the region, slammed the Saudis guilty of “incapability and incompetence to run the haj.” Chiming in was Tehran Friday prayer leader Mohammed Emami-Kashani who angrily stated, “The world will not accept excuses like the weather was hot or the pilgrims were disorganized.”