Not “Act Of God” – Iran Accuses Stampede Due To Roads Closure For VVIP

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Sep 27 2015
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Less than 2-weeks after a huge red crane crashed into a part of the Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mosque – the largest in the world – killing at least 107 people with more than 238 people injured, a second disaster happened in the rich kingdom. This time, it was due to stampede which killed 769 and injured more than 934 people.


Depending on the seriousness of those injured, the death toll could easily climb to above 1,000. In the crane collapse incident, developer and contractor Saudi Bin Laden Group tried putting the blame squarely on God. Days later, Saudi government suspended the group from new projects, and concluded the contractor was “partly responsible”.

Saudi Arabia Crane Collapse - lighting strike

King Salman also ordered 1 million Saudi Riyals compensation for injured with permanent disability, while those injured would get half a million riyal. Clearly, it wasn’t an “Act of God”; otherwise Saudi won’t suspend their contractor, let alone pay compensation. Just when you thought the God can have a good rest, He is being invoked (or rather abused) once again in the latest stampede.


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who is also deputy prime minister and chairman of the Supreme Hajj Committee, has ordered an investigation into Thursday’s stampede during a symbolic “stoning of the devil” ritual. Additionally, King Salman, whose official title is “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” in Mecca and Medina, ordered “a revision” of how the Hajj is organised.

Saudi Stampede - Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef

Saudi Stampede Deaths on the Road

But the Saudi’s enemy – Iran – whose citizens formed the biggest casualties with at least 136 deaths and more than 344 of its citizens still missing, isn’t impressed. Thousands of Iranian protesters took to the streets to denounce the “incompetence” of Saudi Arabia’s handling of the Hajj pilgrimage. Iran’s Shia Muslims and Saudi’s Sunni Muslims clashes again.


In retaliation, Saudi unleashed its Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin-Abdullah al-Sheikh, who amusingly declares the Saudi Crown Prince isn’t responsible for what happened because the deaths were “beyond human control”. Essentially, that means the stampede was an “Act of God”, a convenient tool that Saudi often uses.

Saudi Stampede - Iranians Protest

Saudi Stampede - Iranians Women Protest

And on Saturday, Prosecutor General Sayed Ibrahim Raisi, in a tit-for-tat, said that Iran would seek the trial of the Saudi royal Al-Saud family over its “crimes” in “international courts”. However, Saudi health Minister Khaled al-Falih blamed victims for failing to follow instructions, and added it was “God’s will”.


So, was it another “Act of God”, or pilgrims’ fault for not following instructions or simply Saudi’s incompetence? While Iran blames Riyadh’s incompetency of event management, Mohammed Jafari, an advisor to the Hajj and Umrah Travel tour operator in the UK accused Saudi of closing two key roads so dignitaries and a royal convoy could reach a palace.

Saudi Stampede - Google Map - Jamarat Pillars and Location of Crush

Apparently, pilgrims on the ground say the main reason for this accident was that King Salman and his palace was receiving dignitaries including the minister of defence and members of the GCC (the Gulf Co-operation Council). Hence, the Saudi officials closed two of the entrances to where the “stoning of the devil’ ritual was supposedly happen.


Naturally, the closure of two roads in already super crowded pilgrims under temperatures around 46C had created two bottlenecks. Frustrated, Mohammed Jafari blames the Saudi government for closing roads without fail whenever a prince or dignitaries come for a visit. He was also furious because Saudi always blames God in every disaster.

Saudi Stampede - Police Accused of Doing Nothing

Saudi Stampede - Police Accused of Doing Nothing - People Trample

Interestingly, there’s another problem with Saudi government whose interior ministry has always (proudly) claim it assigned 100,000 police to secure the Hajj and manage crowds. Turns out, the police deployed were inexperienced, as Ahmed Abu Bakr, a 45-year-old Libyan who escaped the stampede with his mother, had witnessed.


In spite of the large numbers, many agree police were not properly trained and lacked the language skills for communicating with foreign pilgrims. Another witness, 39-year-old Egyptian Mohammed Hasan, claimed soldiers gathered at one place doing nothing during the stampede.

Saudi Stampede - Pilgrimage in Tunnel

Saudi Stampede - Dead Bodies With Ambulance

Regardless of the causes of the deadly stampede, one thing is clear. It wasn’t an “Act of God” and those who died aren’t martyred, at least not to the Iranians, otherwise they wouldn’t curse and wanted to sue the Saudi but sing songs of praise.


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