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Thursday, January 12, 2006 

They don't care if you're trampled in Mecca

Because sadly enough, as they say, the show must go on. Even at the expense of life. At least 345 Muslim pilgrims were crushed to death in stampedes in Mecca during the Haj pilgrimage, the worst tragedy of the sort to take place in about a decade.

Here's what an American Muslim had to say on the subject:
In Mecca, I found the same mixture of confusion, oppression and apathy I thought I had left behind in Egypt. But as in Egypt, nothing worked, even at the blessed hajj, for we were visitors not to an Islamic state but to yet another cynical Arab kleptocracy which only pretended to adhere to the true ideals of Islam.

The Saudis couldn’t even organize the hajj safely. Each day, as I performed the rituals of the hajj, I was part of massed crowds of Muslims from all over the world: Turks and Pakistanis, Nigerians, Malaysians, Arabs. We would shamble forward without order or seeming direction, endangering lives as we knocked over women, the lame and the elderly in our hurry to get from one ritual to the next. Once, in a street so filled with pilgrims that I could not take one step forward, I was forced to jump into the back of a truck to avoid being killed in a stampede.

At night, I would wander through the pilgrim camps, disgusted by the sight of the mud-faced pilgrims who were only too happy to sleep on the filthy streets. In the morning, the streets would be clogged again, and veiled women who had trouble walking because they’d so rarely been let out of their homes would waddle slowly before me. At the stoning ritual, I watched little girls fall under the crowds of pilgrims: Turks shoving Arabs, Africans shoving Indians until each day a few more pilgrims were trampled to death. The next day I would read of the incident in the Saudi Times (FOURTEEN PILGRIMS KILLED IN STAMPEDE) which would quote a hajj official who never took any responsibility for the deaths. He would only say that since the pilgrims had died on hajj they would "surely enter Paradise." There was never any promise to cut the number of hajjis or control the outsized crowds to prevent these needless deaths.
And there never will be in the forseeable future either. The apathy the Saudis show even for their own stems from the same biases that motivate them to show contempt and apathy for whomever they consider dhimmis outside the Muslim world.

In all due honesty, is this really worth risking one's life for? I don't think so.

Hat tip: IRIS Blog.

Labels:

Thanks for sharing. It's a sin and a shame that people are so to rituals beholden to rituals they end up killing to complete them foresaking the spirit of the dictates altogether. What God would order people to reach a stone even if it meant pushing and shoving.

Thanks.

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