Iran decries absence at Hajj 2016

Muslim pilgrim join one of the Hajj rituals on Mount Arafat near Mecca early on September 11, 2016. Close to 1.5 million Muslims from around the world prepared on September 10 night for the climax of the annual hajj pilgrimage at a rocky hill known as Mount Arafat. The pilgrims will mark September 11 with day-long prayers and recitals of the Koran holy book at the spot in western Saudi Arabia where they believe their Prophet Mohammed gave his last hajj sermon. PHOTO: AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP

Muslim pilgrim join one of the Hajj rituals on Mount Arafat near Mecca early on September 11, 2016. Close to 1.5 million Muslims from around the world prepared on September 10 night for the climax of the annual hajj pilgrimage at a rocky hill known as Mount Arafat. The pilgrims will mark September 11 with day-long prayers and recitals of the Koran holy book at the spot in western Saudi Arabia where they believe their Prophet Mohammed gave his last hajj sermon. PHOTO: AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP

As Hajj 2016 winds down and pilgrims embark on return journey to their various countries, the Iranian government has drawn attention to circumstances preventing its pilgrims from taking part in the yearly spiritual exercise that effectively ended yesterday.

Besides, the country also blamed the authorities of Saudi Arabia for last year’s twin tragedies of crane crash and stampede that claimed several lives, mainly pilgrims.

In a statement issued in Abuja by the Cultural Consular, Islamic Republic of Iran Embassy, Saeed Omiri, Saudi government was blamed for non-participation of pilgrims from Iran in this year’s Hajj.

According to Iran, Islamic and monotheistic Hajj is manifestation of the Quranic verse, which describes the faithful as being firm against the unbelievers, and compassionate among themselves; and it is a venue for disavowal of polytheists and promoting friendship and unity with believers.

So, “those who have reduced the Hajj to a mere pilgrimage-tourism trip and have hidden their enmity and grudge against the faithful and the revolutionary nation of Iran under the title of politicization of the Hajj, have only done so to jeopardize purpose of the spiritual journey of which is tradition to pilgrims from the country.  “Saudi rulers, who have obstructed and blocked the way of the fervent and faithful Iranian pilgrims to the holy house, must have reached such decision with inference of outsiders who are enemy of Islam and to our country.”

Recalling the colossal loss as a result of the 2015 stampede, the statement reads, “one year has passed since the horrible incidents in which thousands of pilgrims, on the day of Eid, lost their lives tragically,” while condemning the alleged failure of Saudi government to accept responsibility for the tragedy.

Earlier, Iranian spiritual leader, Seyyed Ali Khamenei had decried what he termed sordid manner in which Saudi rulers handled the incident.

According to Khamenei, there were nearly 500 Iranians among the martyrs and their families are still hurt and bereft and the nation is still in grief and enraged.

He said several thousand families from different countries lost their beloved ones and their nations were rendered bereaved, and one year after, the kingdom rulers neither prosecute officials behind the act, offer apology to affected countries nor did it set up an international Islamic fact-finding mission in ultimate shamelessness and impudence.

“Instead of taking the stand as defendant, they took the seat of claimant and brought further to the fore their age-old enmity with the Islamic Republic and with any Islamic flag, which stands against blasphemy and arrogance, with more wickedness and insolence”.

Addressing the absence of Iran from the 2016 Hajj, he explained that reports, in addition to blocking the Hajj pilgrims from Iran and some other nations, revealed how Saudi subjected Hajj pilgrims from other countries to unprecedented surveillance.

“The Muslim world, including Muslim governments and nations, must know the Saudi rulers and truly realize the reality of their sacrilegious, unfaithful, dependent and materialistic nature; they must not let them go with impunity after all the crimes they have caused across the Muslim world, but in response to their unjust treatment of the guests of the Merciful God, they must think of a fundamental solution for the management of the two Holy Mosques and the issue of Hajj.

“Shirking from this duty will expose the Islamic Ummah to bigger problems in the future,” submitted Khamenei.

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