A top Iranian cleric says the Islamic Republic will never forget the “heart-rending and disgraceful” crush that took place during last year’s Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
During the Hajj rituals, Muslim nations must identify their enemy and its plots as well as factors that would cause strife among them, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani said in an address to worshipers at weekly Friday prayers in the Iranian capital Tehran.
He expressed deep regret that the Wahhabi regime of Saudi Arabia calls itself the custodian of Islam’s holiest shrines.
Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia and freely espoused by the country’s clerics, is directly responsible for the rise of such terror networks as the Daesh Takfiri group wreaking havoc in several countries, mainly Iraq and Syria. Takfirism, or the practice of accusing others of being “infidels”, is a characteristic of Wahhabism. The Riyadh regime also provides widely-reported support for Daesh.
Movahedi Kermani said the Saudi rulers, whom he described as “US puppets”, have conspired to prevent Muslims from enjoying security beside the Kaaba in the holy city of Mecca.
Instead of establishing security in Saudi Arabia, the country’s rulers kill pilgrims, he added.
The tragic incident took place during the Hajj rituals in Mina, near Mecca, on September 24, 2015, when two large masses of pilgrims converged at a crossroads during the symbolic ceremony of the stoning of Satan in Jamarat.
The crush was the deadliest incident in the history of the pilgrimage. According to an Associated Press count based on official statements from the 36 countries that lost citizens in the disaster, more than 2,400 pilgrims were killed in the incident.
Saudi Arabia claims nearly 770 people were killed in the incident, but officials at Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization say about 4,700 people, including over 460 Iranian pilgrims, lost their lives.
Iran cancelled the participation of its pilgrims in this year’s Hajj rituals in September due to the hurdles created by Saudi Arabia in the way of Iranians seeking to perform the ritual.
Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi said on August 27 that the country would spare no effort to restore the rights of the victims of the deadly crush.