Up to 50 Muslim pilgrims were trampled to death today during a symbolic stoning ritual to mark the final day of the haj ceremony.Two years ago, 244 Muslims died in a stampede at the ritual stoning of the devil. Back in 1994, about 270 pilgrims killed in a stampede during the stoning ritual.
Dozens of people were crushed as a stampede broke among crowds filing past the three pillars of al-Jamarat, on a bridge on the outskirts of the holy city of Mecca.
Living far from Mecca and the Mideast, I have no sense of whether these repeated stampedes (and the hundreds of deaths they cause) bother authorities over there.
I'm not a Muslim so my views wouldn't carry any weight, but it seems to me that next year's organizers of the haj might consider discarding this part of the program. Organizers could circulate leaflets announcing:
Due to repeated stampedes and hundreds of deaths, the ritual stoning of the devil has been discontinued. We regret any inconvenience this cancellation will cause.But (sigh) that's unlikely to happen. The world -- East and West -- likes drama and ritual, even if these events kill hundreds of people each year.