Hajj 2013 and the Alleged Mina Incident with the American Dearborn Shiite Pilgrims
1.4 million pilgrims, at least 140,000 Shiites
Unverified report, Sourced by activists
It is reported that during Hajj 2013 there was a sectarian attack against a group of Lebanese Shiite pilgrims from Dearborn, Michigan. The alleged attackers were Lebanese Sunnis.
Before jumping to conclusions it is important to consider two factors.
1. Was the attack truly sectarian or was it related to the politics of Lebanon?
2. Let’s not forget that there were 1.4 million making Hajj 2013 and that at least 10% of them were Shiites- that makes more than 140,000 Shiite pilgrims that performed the Hajj peacefully.
It is possible an attack happened even though there is no third party independent report on the incident so far. However there is reason for concern about the story being told in the report that appeared in the Washington Times and was written by a Pakistani Shiite activist Rahat Husain. Mr. Husain is director of Legal and Policy Affairs at UMAA, the Universal Muslim Association of America, a Shiite advocacy group that strongly supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
There is no way on earth that a Muslim of any background would say what is alleged to have been said in this sectarian incitement piece by Rahat Husain on the Washington Times website. One of the alleged victims is said to have tweeted, among other patently questionable quotes that " [T]hey attacked screaming kill them like Hussien [sic] and take there women as captives like Zaynab… We have people bleeding and women terrified.”
Sunni Muslims of all denominations revere these Islamic figures and there is no way that the "attackers" used their names in that fashion. There is no doubt that there is sectarian bigotry from both the Shiites and the Sunnis and the Internet is teeming with shameful bigotry and incitement from extremists of both sides. However, I challenge anyone to find anywhere on the Internet language similar to that allegedly used by the alleged attackers.
It is just not possible.
I would have had an open mind to a claim of harassment and discrimination but the quotes in the story attributed to the "attackers" make it crystal clear that there is more to the story than reported.
Hajj 2013: A Great Success for the Custodians of Mecca and Medina
Just to put things in their proper context, Hajj 2013 had 1.4 million Muslim pilgrims from 188 countries who peacefully performed their religious obligation. At least 10% of the pilgrims were Shiite Muslims- that is at least 140,000 of the pilgrims were Shiite. With the exception of the alleged incident in Mina the 2013 Hajj is a success story no fires, no stampedes, no "Death to America" protests or other unfortunate events that we saw in the past. The Saudi government is spending great resources to make sure that the pilgrims can safely and peacefully perform their religious obligation. To their credit, this year's Hajj was a safe and peaceful Hajj to the more than 1.4 million that were guests of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A Minor Footnote- Lebanese Politics in Hajj 2013?
That means whatever the validity of the incident with the American Shiite pilgrims from Dearborn, it was isolated, an outlier, and since the alleged offending group was Lebanese the matter seems more related to Lebanese politics than anything else. It is important to not forget that both the alleged offenders and the alleged victims are Lebanese.
Is this more of a Lebanese incident more than anything else? Only an independent report can either confirm or deny this.
We have at best an incomplete picture of what happened.
My money is that it is more of a Lebanese confrontation than anything else.