What’s The Skinny?
On Thursday, Sept. 24, during the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the Hajj, hundreds were trampled during an enormous stampede. The event took place on the Jamarat bridge in Mina when two large groups of people merged together. They were on their way to the Jamarat pillars for the customary stoning.
Give me the rundown:
- The Hajj takes place in Saudi Arabia each year, when millions of Muslim people fulfill their lifelong religious duty to journey to Mecca.
- Crowds throw stones at the Jamarat pillar occurs in Mina, near Mecca. In the Muslim faith, the three pillars is the site where Prophet Abraham was tempted by the Devil. Mina has been the site of previous stampedes in the past.
- According to BBC reports, at least 769 pilgrims died in the tragic event on Thursday. Further, it was reported by BBC that similar events took place in 2004 and 2006. Since then, the Saudi Arabian government has taken precautions to limit these types of fatal incidences.
- Other than the exact location of the incident, it is unclear how or why the stampede originated. Although, with such large numbers making the journey each year, fear and panic are consistent problems in the area.
What is the bottom line?
Each year, millions travel to Saudi Arabia to participate in a pilgrimage to Mecca. Throughout its history, stampedes have been fatal and problematic. The areas of Mecca, Mina, the Jaramat bridge and the Grand Mosque are not large enough to hold this many individuals all at one time. Even though suggested visiting times are in existence, with such large numbers, they are not always followed. Further, the Saudi Arabian government has taken precautions to limit these disasters by altering gathering places, widening access points and creating new pathways, however catastrophes are still occurring. In light of Thursday’s event, many countries are voicing their discontentment as international deaths connected to the stampede are rising. According to Al Jezeeraj, the health ministry stated on Saturday that in addition to the 769 pilgrim deaths, 934 people were also injured.