SHAFAQNA- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Sunday urged Saudi Arabia to ensure all Hajj pilgrims’ security.
“Ensuring security, dignity, welfare and comfort of all Hajj pilgrims, Iranians’ in particular, has always been a serious demand of the Islamic Republic, and this is upon the country [Saudi Arabia] which controls the two holy shrines [in Mecca and Medina],” Ayatollah Khamenei said in an address to a group of Iranian Hajj officials in Tehran, IRNA reported.
The speech came after the first group of Iranian pilgrims from the southern port city of Bandar Abbas left for the holy city of Medina early Sunday.
He pointed to a deadly stampede and a crane crash during the 2015 Hajj pilgrimage, saying that “the pain left in the hearts of Iranians” due to the two tragic incidents is “unforgettable”.
In September 2015, more than 110 pilgrims, among them 11 Iranians, lost their lives after the collapse of a massive construction crane into Mecca’s Grand Mosque and some 4,700, including over 460 Iranians, were crushed to death in a stampede near the holy city.
Ayatollah Khamenei, however, noted that a security atmosphere should not be created in order to guarantee security.
Ayatollah Khamenei described the Hajj pilgrimage as “the epitome of grandeur, unity, integrity and power of the Islamic Ummah.”
He called on Muslim nations to boost unity and avoid any moves that could contribute to the plots aimed at fomenting discord and feud among Muslims.
“While billions of dollars are spent to create disunity, friction and hostility among Muslims, Muslims should be careful not to help this effort, because each Islamic nation that contributes to this plot will be a partner in the consequences of this great sin.”
‘United stance on Al-Aqsa’
The Leader said Muslims should use the Hajj rituals this year to take a united stance against Israeli efforts to control the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Tensions are still high at Islam’s third holiest site in Beit-ul-Moqaddas, where Israel had deployed troops to restrict access to Palestinian worshippers but had to retreat amid fears that the standoff could turn to a large-scale revolt.
“The Zionists have become emboldened and rude, giving themselves the right to get tough with the owners of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and prevent them,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
“Where can the Islamic Ummah find a better venue than Hajj to comment on the Al-Aqsa Mosque? Where is the place to take a position against the mischievous presence of America in the region? Hajj is the best venue,” the Leader added.
He said the ritual of the “disavowal of disbelievers” which was always emphasized by the late founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini is an opportunity to declare positions on the subjects on which there is consensus among the Islamic Ummah.
“One of these issues is the case of Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Quds, which these days because of the insolence, brazenness and wickedness of the usurping and fake Zionist regime, has become the focus of attention more than before.
“The meddling and mischievous presence of America in the Islamic countries and the region and the creation of Takfiri terrorist groups are other important issues that Muslim nations should take a stance on during the Hajj,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
“More mischievous and wicked than all terrorist groups is the American regime itself,” the Leader added.