A senior Iranian cleric has heaped scorn on Saudi officials for the tragic death of 107 pilgrims in a construction crane crash incident in the holy city of Mecca, saying the ruling Al Saud is not qualified to run the affairs of highly revered site.
“The Al Saud is not capable of administering the affairs of Grand Mosque. At a time when millions of pilgrims are present in this mosque, why should a crane be there? This action of theirs is not wise,” Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirzai, an authority on religious matters, said in the holy city of Qom on Saturday.
He said the “imprudence” of the Saudi superintendents of the the holy site was behind Friday’s fatal collapse of the crane into Mecca’s Grand Mosque.
The Saudi government had earlier blamed “strong sandstorm, winds and torrential rains” for the accident.
The Iranian cleric criticized the Saudi construction of high-rise buildings in the proximity of grand and important sites. “Why should the Saudi rulers allow the construction of 50-story buildings near the Grand Mosque? These skyscrapers have surrounded the Grand Mosque and in a way impacted the Grand Mosque.”
The top cleric said Muslim scholars have to coach Saudi rulers about how to manage the Grand Mosque, which annually welcomes millions of Muslim pilgrims from across the globe.
At least 107 people, including an Iranian citizen, lost their lives as a construction crane collapsed on Hajj pilgrims in the Grand Mosque of Mecca on Friday. The incident injured 238 people, including 25 Iranians.
On Saturday, a Saudi official said the annual hajj ritual would proceed despite the tragedy. The hajj is expected to start on September 21.
“It definitely will not affect the hajj this season, and the affected part will probably be fixed in a few days,” AFP quoted the the official whose name was not revealed as saying..
The accident happened at a time when hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims are pouring into the holy city to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage.