Support the Café

Search our Site

Saudi Arabia is working to protect haj pilgrims

Saudi Arabia is working to protect haj pilgrims

Hoping to prevent a repeat of last year’s deadly haj disaster, Saudi Arabia is focusing on crowd management ahead of this week’s pilgrimage. Medical workers, security staff, and civil servants have been performing emergency drills and the kingdom reports that efforts are being made to include planning with haj missions from pilgrims’ home countries. Officials hope that by coordinating communication, pilgrims will observe stated schedules and the Grand Mosque has installed hundreds of new surveillance cameras to keep an eye on proceedings.


Mecca, Islam’s most holy city, will be home to two million worshipers during the pilgrimage, but worries about militant violence are casting a shadow on the proceedings; a suicide bomber in Medina killed four soldiers earlier this summer and the sheer number of people entering the city makes policing difficult. Electronic bracelets will be fitted on pilgrims in an attempt to more accurately judge crowd flow and anticipate problem areas.


Iran, who lost over 400 citizens in the haj disaster last year, has been sharply critical of the kingdom’s organization of the pilgrimage. The official Saudi inquiry has not yet been released, but authorities seem to be focused on the pilgrims themselves and blame the crowd for not following rules.  Riyadh claims less than 800 people died, but fatality counts by country indicate that the number is closer to 2000.


Saudi Arabia has said that no attempts to politicize haj will be tolerated; many believe this is directed at Iran. Iran has already stated that its pilgrims would not attend, but the kingdom is worried that pro-Iranian pilgrims could upset the proceedings by spreading anti-Saudi messages.


Information from Religious News Service


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café