British parliamentarians and British Muslim community expressed their deepest sorrow and sadness in the meeting at the House of Lords about the Hajj tragedy which took place during this year’s Hajj where a large number of innocent pilgrims have lost their lives. This meeting was organised by Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK (ABH), a national Hajj specific organisation working for the welfare of the Hajj and Umrah Pilgrims to discuss the lethal stampede and other issues concerning the welfare and wellbeing of the pilgrims.
“It is highly regrettable that innocent pilgrims have lost their lives in such terrible circumstances. Horrific scenes of the stampede aftermath and pictures and reports coming through caused a huge amount of grief and distress amongst the community in UK.” Said, Lord Ahmed of Rotherham.
He continued, “The tragedy occurred despite of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia spending millions of dollars on improving infrastructure to facilitate Hajj arrangements and to ensure the safety and comfort of millions of pilgrims from around the World. “
Lord Phil Hunt (the former health Minister) also expressed his concern about the Hajj tragedy and stressed that the relevant authorities should take every appropriate action to ensure the safe performance of Hajj. He assured his full support towards the work being undertaken by Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK in order to diminish hardships and difficulties experienced by the pilgrims and prevent any loss of innocent human lives amongst them.
Another Muslim Member of Parliament, Nusrat Ghani, expressed her immense grief and stated, “The families and friends of British Pilgrims had an extremely difficult time during this period. Many were worried and concerned about the safety and welfare of their loved ones in Makkah .” She also extended her full support to any action taken to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of the pilgrims.
“One of the major contributory factors which emerged out of this heart breaking human disaster was ignorance and lack of awareness of health and safety risks amongst pilgrims. They did not have the understanding of precautionary measures that should have been taken to avoid creating catastrophe.” Said, Khalid Pervez (General Secretary ABH).
He continued, “An example and contributory factor, which was highlighted at the time of stampede, was the great heat and fatigue. The temperature in Mina at that time reached up to 46 degree Celsius. Pilgrims were already dehydrated and fainting before the stampede. We strongly believe that innocent human lives could have been saved if the pilgrims were equipped with vital health and safety information and precautionary measures.”
We have to wait for the outcome of the Hajj disaster inquiry ordered by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to know the other contributory factors towards the lethal stampede. However, we strongly urges Kingdom and other relevant governments from around the world that a lesson need to be learned from this heart-breaking tragedy. All efforts must be made to ensure that the prospective pilgrims are well trained and aware of vital life saving health and safety precautions in order to perform a safe Hajj and to prevent any future loss of innocent human lives.