Russian pilgrims fail to take up the Hajj quota

By Vestnik Kavkaza
Russian pilgrims fail to take up the Hajj quota

The number of pilgrims who died in a stampede in the Mina Valley during the Hajj in Saudi Arabia has reached 1313 people, according to Associated Press. The agency’s data differs from the official information of the Saudi authorities, according to which 769 people died and 934 people were injured. Nevertheless, this is one of the hugest tragedies ever to have happened during a Hajj. AP reports that the number of victims includes residents of 180 countries, including 465 citizens of Iran, 148 citizens of Egypt, 120 Indonesians, 89 Pakistanis, and 81 Indians.

There are no Russian citizens among the victims. At the same time, there were fewer Russian Muslims at the Hajj than was planned this year. 13 thousand 200 Russian people performed the Hajj this year. According to Ali Hasanov, Head of the Department for Relations with the Religious Board of Muslims of the Council of Muftis of Russia, “the main reason was the dollar’s rate. Therefore, many tour operators of the spiritual direction could not fill out the quotas, there are only a few regions which were able to use up their quotas. According to my information, they are Chechnya and Ingushetia.”

Patimat Rasulova, participant in the 2015 Hajj, editor of the internet portal ‘Russia for Everyone’, told Vestnik Kavkaza that “pilgrimage is one of main pillars of Islam. The biggest number of Russian pilgrims are from Dagestan. There are very well-disciplined pilgrims. Each group has a leader who lectures people every day. The lectures were devoted to all the historic sites.

When the tragic events happened, I managed to contact all the tour operators and I found out that there were no victims among our pilgrims. All pilgrims will return to Russia before October 11th.”

However, Rasulova thinks that travel agencies should pay more attention to the issue of healthcare and assistance to the pilgrims: “80% of all pilgrims got sick. Many pilgrims were not ready to travel, even those who had chronic diseases did not bring the necessary medicine with them. They had to find those medicines at the place. They hoped for the holy places, hoped that here they would not get sick. The situation worsened due to the climatic conditions and the mode of our pilgrimage, as they were working on themselves all day long. However, many were surprised by how kind the pilgrims were. Everyone was ready to help his neighbor.”