The head of the Saudi Arabia Hajj Committee has laid the blame for the stampede that killed over 700 people solely on the foot of black African pilgrims.
Prince Khaled al-Faisal, the head of the central Hajj committee said on Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV that the stampede that led to more than 700 deaths and 850 injured is all because of “some pilgrims with African nationalities”.
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.”
Iranian officials on the other hand, who lost about 23 of their citizens, accuse Saudi Arabia of mismanagement and lack of safety in the aftermath of the tragedy. The head of Iran’s Hajj organisation, Said Ohadi, said the incident was caused by the authorities’ decision to close two paths near the scene of the symbolic ‘stoning of the devil’ ritual.
One wonders if the Africans are also to blame for the crane accident that killed about a 100 pilgrims just last week in Saudi Arabia.