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Could The Hajj Stampede Have Been Prevented?

Over 700 people were killed at the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The annual event welcomes almost three million people, all of whom congregate together. Could the Saudi Arabian government done something to prevent the stampede?

73% of writers and pundits say yes
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Could The Hajj Stampede Have Been Prevented?  

Writers and pundits who say or about the topic, "Could The Hajj Stampede Have Been Prevented?"
last 24 hours | ajc
Was the Hajj stampede 'destined' to happen? - Atlanta Journal Constitution
"...So, was the stampede just destined to happen? It is, at least, a little disconcerting Saudi Arabia has spent billions of dollars over the years helping to make the Hajj experience more secure in some areas only to have the stampede happen in another area. The confluence of millions of people crowded into an intersection in Mina led to the tragedy, and it's one that's happened before. In 1990, more than 1,400 pilgrims died in a stampede in an overcrowded tunnel making Thursday's incident only the second worst in recent history. ..." see full article


812 days ago | bbc
Hajj stampede: Could tragedy have been prevented?
"...While some are suggesting that the quick response of Saudi civil defence forces limited the number of casualties on Thursday, others are accusing the organisers of negligence.It is also worth noting that in a region gripped by political violence and sectarian turmoil, the Saudi authorities issued a warning that they "will not allow any party to exploit Hajj for political purposes".The message seems to have been directed at Iran, whose pilgrims were involved in clashes with Saudi security personnel in 1987 following a political demonstration. The incident resulted in the deaths of more than 400 people and severely strained relations between the Sunni and Shia powers...." see full article


814 days ago | slate
More Than 700 Killed in Hajj Stampede

"...The Saudi government cut the number of foreign pilgrims permitted to make the journey in 2013 due to ongoing construction projects, slowing the increase in visitors. This has led to a major construction boom in Mecca, though, as Mustafa Hameed recently wrote for Foreign Policy, many facilities are still dangerously inadequate.* Despite the crane tragedy, as well as worries about the MERS virus and the conflict in neighboring Yemen, more than 2 million people are participating in this year's pilgrimage...." see full article


814 days ago | nytimes
Hajj Stampede Near Mecca Leaves Over 700 Dead

"...It was the deadliest accident during the hajjpilgrimage in a quarter-century, with at least 717 pilgrims from around the world killed and more than 850 injured. And it posed yet another challenge for the country's new leader, King Salman, who is already coping with low oil prices, a war in Yemen and an increasingly fierce rivalry with Iran.Continue reading the main storyThe stampede was the latest in a series of crises that have plagued the pilgrimage this season: Just two weeks ago, a crane collapse killed more than 100 visitors, and hotel fires have injured others. The missteps have embarrassed the insular Saudi monarchy, which considers itself the global guardian of orthodox Islam and takes great pride in protecting the holy sites and their millions of annual visitors...." see full article


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814 days ago | vox
Hajj stampede near Mecca: the tragedy, explained

"...Some of these ancient sites, particularly those dating back to Islam's seventh-century founding, were simply not built with the modern-day hajj in mind. Saudi Arabia is unlikely to respond by more strictly limiting attendance. This would be unlikely both on religious grounds and for more narrow economic reasons."The Saudis know the oil is going to run out," Ziauddin Sardar, author of Mecca: The Sacred City, told Time. "Hajj is already their second major source of income, after oil. They look at Dubai, and Qatar, and ask what are we going to do?' And they say, We have Hajj, and we're going to exploit it to the max.'"..." see full article


814 days ago | thedailybeast
I Survived a Hajj Stampede

"...As it stands, the ruling despots of Saudi Arabia exploit the pilgrimage as one of the five pillars of Islam to win a pass on scrutiny of policies that, for example, left a young man, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, 21, sentenced to crucifixion and beheadingfor alleged political crimes against the state. He is a member of the minority Shia sect of Islam, marginalized in a country dominated by the majority Sunni sect, which deems minority sects apostates. Paradoxically, the government of Saudi Arabia was just named head of a panel on the U.N. Human Rights Council.Hopes for reform in Saudi aren't just pie in the sky dreaming. The Hope Pope, or Pope Francis, who is leading his faithful in a U.S. tour with a message of love a stark and successful departure from the Catholic Church of the Inquisition, which murdered scientists, philosophers, monks, and laypeople who disagreed with its strict doctrine tells us that grand theological change is possible. (To pay my respects to history, when I went to Rome some years after my hajj, I went on a self-styled heretics tour of the coliseums, public squares, and other sites where brave souls had lost their lives for critical thinking.)..." see full article


814 days ago | time
Saudis Face Angry Criticism After Hajj Stampede Kills Over 700
"...Analysts also say that Saudi Arabia's autocratic system of government is partly to blame for the repeated deadly incidents during the hajj. In the past, senior government officials have rarely been held accountable for such incidents.Saudi authorities have historically viewed the hajj has a political and security challenge, viewing with suspicion the huge numbers of pilgrims who visit from places like Iran, the kingdom's geopolitical rival. (In the aftermath of the stampede, Iran complained that Saudis had not been treating the scores of dead Iranians, and that Iranian officials had not been allowed near the dead.) But that approach to managing the hajj can come at the expense of basic safety concerns...." see full article


814 days ago | washingtonpost
How the deadly hajj stampede feeds into old Middle East rivalries

"...Mega construction projects undertaken by the Saudis in the holy cities have angered many elsewhere in the Muslim world. Some of them have led to the destruction of ancient shrines and tombs, draining Mecca of its "history and religious and cultural plurality," as one commentator put it.After the crane accident earlier this month, a leading Egyptian cleric suggested that administration of the sites be handled by a collective grouping of Muslim states...." see full article


814 days ago | cb
Hajj stampede: The challenge of keeping pilgrims safe when massive crowds are on the move
"...Saudi officials have amped up safety measures over the past few years, and the cities of Mecca, Mina and Medina are blocked off from the rest of the country during hajj for pilgrims.Keith Still, an expert in crowd control behaviour at Manchester Metropolitan University who has worked as a special adviser for the hajj, said the Saudi government has put in a lot of effort to improve the area and to keep pilgrims safe, including improving transit and camp conditions..." see full article


814 days ago | independent.c
Hajj stampede: Saudi authorities scramble to explain crush that killed 719 pilgrims
"...The stampede happened after a surge of pilgrims at the intersection of two perpendicular streets as they were making their way towards an area overlooking the columns, according to the Saudi civil defence directorate. It said more than 220 rescue vehicles and 4,000 members of the emergency services were deployed to try to ease the congestion and provide alternative exit routes.Deaths such as these have occurred numerous times during Hajj despite the use of surveillance cameras to limit the number of people converging on the site. The disaster is the worst to strike the pilgrimage since 1990 when at least 1,426 pilgrims perished in a stampede in an overcrowded pedestrian tunnel leading to holy sites...." see full article


814 days ago | theguardian
Hajj pilgrimage stampede: a visual guide to the fatal crush near Mecca - The Guardian

"...Two to three million people make the pilgrimage every year, posing massive logistical challenges around crowd and traffic control. Thursday's stampede was the deadliest disaster at the hajj since 1990, when more than 1,400 people died after panic broke out when a large crowd attempted to move through a pedestrian tunnel. This latest tragedy will raise further questions about the Saudi authorities' competence in safety management. Mina - the site of an annual, densely packed, temporary city - has long been a focus for concern. Thousands have died here as a result of stampedes or fires...." see full article



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