Posted by M Faraz Hakim
Posted on 15:18
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Daily World News,
Horrifying images showing a mass trial of destruction, with scores of bodies lying amid crushed wheelchairs and water bottles along a sunbaked street from the annual Islamic pilgrimage shocked the world.
But defiant British Muslims will travel to Medina or Mecca, in modern-day Saudi Arabia to join more than two million other pilgrims from around the world for the six-day ritual.
The Hajj is still reeling from last year’s disaster, which came just two weeks after a construction crane collapsed at Mecca’s Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, killing 109 people.
To ensure history does not repeat itself, ahead of this year’s event Association of British Hujjaj UK (ABH), a national organisation working for the welfare and wellbeing of pilgrims, has launched a safety awareness campaign. Khalid Pervez, General Secretary of ABH UK called for the protection of British Muslims as he expressed concern about the hardship and difficulties experienced by pilgrims.
He pointed out the apparent lack of awareness of vital and life-saving health and safety precautionary measures needed to be taken to perform a safe Hajj in comfort.
Mr Pervez added: “Authorities from around the world must learn lesson from last year’s Hajj disasters and to set up strategy to help and protect Hajj pilgrims in order to protect them from becoming casualty in any future Hajj tragedy.”
The campaign has been supported by the House of Lords, with Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, saying: “By launching this awareness campaign it will enhance Hajj related health & safety awareness amongst prospective British pilgrims.
“It is important that pilgrims must be aware of all aspects of Hajj to enable them to perform Hajj in the safest and best possible manner.”Muslims are obligated to try and undertake the journey to Mecca and Medina at least once during their lifetimes.
Mina, where pilgrims partake in the ‘stoning of the devil’ ceremony, has long been notorious for stampedes due to the volume of visitors - incidents in 2006, 2004 and 2001 killed a total of 712 people.
The deadliest Hajj disaster in history was in 2015, when 2,236 pilgrims were suffocated or crushed to death.
This year all pilgrims will be issued with electronically tagged bracelets which are GPS enabled and contain personal and medical details in the event of an emergency.The bracelets also offer information to worshippers such as timings of prayers and a multi-lingual help desk to guide non-Arabic speakers around the event.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, Trading Standards and police officials have assured the Muslim community they are working to combat corruption and fraudulent activity of rouge tour and travel operators.
Sneaky fraudsters have been known to sell Hajj packages with discounts of up to 50 per cent of their usual price.