On twenty four September 2015 an event described as a “crush and stampede” caused deaths estimated at overrun 2,000 pilgrims, suffocated or crushed throughout the annual hajj pilgrim’s journey in mynah, Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The high range of deaths caused by the disaster make it the deadliest hajj disaster in history. Estimates of the quantity of dead vary; the Associated Press reported 2,411 dead, while Agence France-Presse reported 2,236 killed. based on the full of the individual national reports cited within the table below (nationalities of victims), at least 2,431 people died. the govt of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia officially reported 2 days when the event that there had been 769 deaths and 934 injured.
These figures remained official at the time of the subsequent year’s hajj and were never updated. the largest number of victims was from Islamic Republic of Iran, followed by Mali and Nigeria.
The crush took place in mina at the intersection of streets 204 and 223 leading up to Jamaraat Bridge. The cause of the disaster remains at issue. The mina disaster inflamed tensions between regional rivals Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Islamic Republic of Iran, which were already elevated due to the wider turmoil in the middle east, like the Syrian war and Yemeni civil war. during a press conference held on the day of the incident, Saudi Ministry of Interior representative Mansour Al-Turki attempted to address most problems regarding the incident. He said in September 2015 that an investigation was in progress, which the precise cause of the overcrowding that led to the deadly crush had not yet been ascertained.
The hajj is an annual pilgrimage in Mecca prescribed as a requirement for Muslims to undertake at least once in their life if they can afford to do thus physically and financially. As historically performed, the hajj consists of a series of rites together with the stoning of the Devil, رمي الجمرات ramī aj-jamarāt, that takes place at the Jamaraat Bridge in mina, a district a few miles east of Mecca. The Jamaraat Bridge is a pedestrian bridge from which pilgrims will throw pebbles at the 3 jamrah pillars. The stoning ritual is that the last major ritual and is often regarded as the most dangerous a part of the hajj, with its giant crowds, confined spaces, and tight planning.
The 2015 hajj came about against a background of regional turmoil (including wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya), the hottest temperatures in Mecca in twenty years, the threat of MERS, and pre-existing tensions between Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Islamic Republic of Iran.
A number of Hajj-related crowd crush disasters have occurred in the past, with 1,426 people being suffocated and trampled to death in a very 1990 tunnel tragedy, and a minimum of 701 people killed in crowd crushes between 1991 and 2005. 346 people were killed in a similar Jamaraat incident in 2006, that prompted the Saudi government to boost the infrastructure of town and its procession routes.
The Arab government has been spending $60 billion to expand the Grand mosque that houses the Kaaba, and has deployed 100,000 security forces and 5,000 CCTV cameras to watch the crowds. The Saudis have also engineered a permanent tent city in the mina valley. it’s covered with approximately 160,000 air conditioned tents across multiple campsites (grouped by nationality) to be used by hajj pilgrims.
According to an announcement by the Saudi civil defence directorate, a stampede occurred Thursday twenty four Sep 2015 at 09:00 Mecca time (06:00 UTC) at the junction between street 204 and 223 as pilgrims were on the way to the Jamaraat Bridge The Saudi Interior Ministry expressed that the stampede was triggered when 2 massive groups of pilgrims intersected from totally different directions onto the same street.
The area wasn’t previously known as a dangerous bottleneck. The junction lay between two pilgrim camp sites. The International Business Times and the Daily Mail reported that the governor of Mecca Province and Saudi Arabia’s head of the central hajj committee, prince Khalid bin Faisal ibn Abdel Aziz al-Saud Al Saud, blamed the crush outside the holy city on “some pilgrims with African nationalities”; prompting condemnation from many African leaders.
Press TV reported that an Iranian survivor of the mina incident, whose name wasn’t disclosed, said solely a handful of Saudi troopers assisted those being trampled within the crush. “When I came back to the disaster point to assist, Saudi troopers prevented me from coming into the area. This, as only a handful of Saudi soldiers were serving to the victims, while a large number of them were standing by idly and looking,” the person told Press TV. a number of other survivors have additionally shared similar accounts, saying that mismanagement by the Saudi authorities and a poor rescue response complicated the situation.
In a news conference held the day of the incident, spokesman of the Ministry of Interior Mansour Al-Turki attempted to address the incident. He same that an investigation was current, that the exact causes for crowding that led to the deadly stampede on mina Street 204 are yet to be observed. He explained that “Street number 204 is a road leading from the camps to the Jamarat Bridge.
What happened was that a group of pilgrims on buses were allowed to descend onto the pathways that cause the Jamarat Bridge at a time that wasn’t allotted to them,” Al Arabiya News Channel’s correspondent in mina, Saad Al-Matrafi said. “As they neared the area, they converged with associate existing cluster of individuals UN agency were already within the space, that pushed the realm to over capability.”
One day once the mina crush tragedy, Saudi media publicized an announcement by the grand mufti of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh, exonerating crown prince Muhammad bin Nayef (known as “MBN”) from responsibility for the disaster, as his Interior Minister title holds him answerable for safety issues at the Mecca shrine. The Grand Mufti’s statement, which characterised the incident as “beyond human control”, “inevitable”, and owing to “fate”, immunized MBN against potential domestic criticism.
The 2015 mina Crush disaster has raised tensions within the already-strained relationship between Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Islamic Republic of Iran, led to calls from politicians in a range of Muslim nations for changes in oversight of Mecca and the hajj, and bolstered opposition to King Salman among the senior members of the Saudi Arabian royal family.
Criticism of Saudi management of hajj
Politicians and religious leaders in a range of Muslim countries have cited the 2015 mina Crush disaster as reason for management of the hajj be bimanual over to either a special nation or to a pan-Islamic organization. Mehmet Ali Sahin Deputy Chair of Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) criticised the Saudi organisation, and claimed that Turkey may do a higher job than Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at organising the pilgrimage journey, occupation for Turkey to be entrusted with its management. Nouri al-Maliki, former Prime Minister of Republic of Iraq, proposed that the Organisation of Muslim Cooperation (OIC) ought to take over administration of the hajj. Muhammad Emami Kashani, an Iranian ayatollah, conjointly drawn up transfer of the management of the hajj to the OIC, stating “Saudi Arabia is incapable of organising the journey. The running of the hajj should be bimanual over to Muslim states.” Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of Hizbollah expressed that Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ought to enable Muslim countries to assist the kingdom run the hajj pilgrimage rituals, emphasising the necessity for the formation of a Muslim committee to “supervise the management” of the annual monotheism event. The Saudi government rejected such calls; Saudi patrician Turki al-Faisal expressed Saudi management over the hajj was “a matter of sovereignty and privilege and service”.
In 2016, supreme leader of Islamic Republic of Iran, ayatollah Ali Khamenei sent a world message via his web site severely criticizing Saudi rulers for what he called “the crimes they have caused throughout the world of Islam,” and asked they be command accountable. In his message Khamenei described the character of Saudi rulers as “blasphemous, faithless, dependent and materialistic,” and asked “the world of Islam” to understand them. He demanded reconsidering the management of 2 holy places and also the issue of hajj because of what he represented as “Saudi rulers’ oppressive behavior towards God’s guests,” relating 2015 myna disaster. “Otherwise Muslims would face biggest issues,” he warned. “The hesitation and failure to rescue the half-dead and injured people… is additionally obvious and incontrovertible… They dead them,” he said.