Eyewitness account of Hajj disaster

Developing Just Leadership

Shakeel Ahmed Khan

Muharram 19, 1437 2015-11-01

Letters To The Editor

by Shakeel Ahmed Khan (Letters To The Editor, Crescent International Vol. 44, No. 9, Muharram, 1437)

I performed Hajj this year accompanied by my elderly mother and wife. It was not a pleasant experience. We were shocked by what we saw. We were lucky to survive the stampede at Mina. We had planned to go for the Jamarat a little later because of my elderly mother. A number of my friends witnessed the stampede firsthand although they were not in the middle of the crowd or they too would have perished.

After the stampede, we saw pilgrims’ bodies dumped in the streets as if they were garbage. The Saudis just did not care. There were distraught relatives crying and searching for their loved ones but they found little help from the Saudis. I thought since I am from North America, I might be able to talk to Saudi officials. They were not only not responsive but also very arrogant.

We were unable to perform our stoning rites the first day because roads were blocked. Also, the area around the stoning site was such a mess that it was hazardous to go there with my wife and elderly mother. We know of a number of other pilgrims that were too scared to go near the stoning area. What kind of Hajj is it when we cannot even perform our religious rites because of Saudi incompetence? Who is responsible for this?

Shakeel Ahmed Khan
Brooklyn, NY, US

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