Mark Glenn: Saudi Arabia should seek Iran help for Hajj security
Press TV has conducted an interview with Mark Glenn, author and journalist in Idaho, the United States, to discuss the deadly crush of Mina during the Hajj pilgrimage rituals outside the holy city of Mecca.
What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: How would you analyze the situation? Why do you think Saudi Arabia failed to manage and provide safety for a crowd of two million pilgrims in an event that is held literally every year and so the circumstances are well-known beforehand?
Glenn: I hate to have to get so conspiratorial so early in the story. First and foremost, though, I would like to pass along my personal condolences to the family members of those who were killed and those who were injured. This is a terrible tragedy, and I say this not as a Muslim but as a Christian, and so I think that this is a time for all of us to reflect upon the terrible human losses taking place.
Nevertheless, I think that at some point some questions do have to be raised here about what decisions were made that resulted in this terrible tragedy. How is it possible that, as you pointed out two million people, the Hajj has been going on now for 1,400 years; how is it possible that they were somehow unwilling or unable to see the extent of the numbers of people who are going to be here and they would not provide security for this?
But more than that, what I am concerned about is how this is likely to be politicized, particularly here in America. This is going to be used – and I say this in a predictive way – not that it may be, but rather that it will be used in a political way, particularly in these fundamentalist churches in America that are very closely aligned with Israel, with Benjamin Netanyahu, that this is going to be used as proof, a sign that Islam is backwards, that it produces nothing but catastrophes and that somehow American Christians have got to pull all of their resources together in assisting Israel and other countries that are engaged in a war against Islam. My … concern is that it is going to be politicized in order to further Israel’s goals and Washington D.C.’s goals in the region.
Press TV: But how do you think such a great annual event should be managed? Shouldn’t there be a council of several Muslim countries instead of only Saudi Arabia?
Glenn: Certainly that would be the reasonable expectation. After all, we are talking about a billion and a half people across the world who consider themselves Muslims, spanning some 80 or 90 countries at least.
And so yes, it would seem appropriate, at least, that this should be a group effort and that there should be some input from other countries. After all, as your newscast noted, several hundred Iranians – is that correct – lost their lives as a result of this. Why wasn’t Iran brought into some type of position or posture where she could help provide security, help provide logistics that would have prevented something like this from happening.