Fri Oct 2, 2015 5:12AM
Saudi emergency personnel stand near bodies of Hajj pilgrims at the site of a stampede in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, on September 24, 2015. © AFP
Saudi emergency personnel stand near bodies of Hajj pilgrims at the site of a stampede in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, on September 24, 2015. © AFP

Press TV has interviewed Mauri Saalakhan, director of the Peace THRU Justice Foundation from New York, and Lawrence J. Korb, with the Center for American Progress from Washington, to discuss Saudi Arabia’s mismanagement during this year’s Hajj pilgrimage, which left thousands dead and wounded in Mina crush.

Saalakhan believes that there are some political motives behind this year’s Hajj tragedy, linking the September 24 incident to the ongoing developments in the Middle East.

He adds the Saudi kingdom introduces itself as the custodian of the holy mosques, which means the Saudis are expected to shoulder responsibility of the deadly incidents during the Hajj pilgrimages and meet the legitimate demands of Muslim countries in this respect.

The Saudis should allow a joint commission of international Muslim organizations to discover the realities and causes of the stampede incident in Mina, he notes.

Referring to the fatal incident of Hajj pilgrimage in 1987, when he himself performed the Islamic rite and witnessed misbehavior of the Saudi security forces toward Muslim pilgrims, the activist adds that the Saudi authorities have a long history of blaming pilgrims for the incidents happening in the Hajj rituals.

Korb, for his part, believes there is a need for an impartial investigation into deadly tragedies during the Hajj pilgrimage, as it is not the first time that pilgrims die during the most important Islamic ritual.

He proposes that the Saudis could limit the quota of every Muslim nation to dispatch fewer pilgrims to Hajj in order to prevent such an incident in the future.

Saudi Arabia deployed thousands of security forces and medical staff for emergency situation, but such a crush in Mina proves that there were some people who did not carry out the policies they were supposed to, he mentions.