Muslims should reconsider letting Saudis manage Hajj, holy sites: Khamenei

Published: September 5, 2016
Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah September 4, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah September 4, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

TEHRAN: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued an angry rebuke to “blasphemous” regional rival Saudi Arabia on Monday, calling on the Muslim world to question its management of Islam’s holiest sites.

“Because of Saudi rulers’ oppressive behaviour towards God’s guests, the world of Islam must fundamentally reconsider the management of the two holy places and the issue of Hajj,” Khamenei said in a statement published on his website, referring to Makkah and Madina.

Saudi prince’s convoy triggered Hajj stampede: report

He published the comments ahead of this month’s annual Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah in Saudi Arabia. Some 60,000 Iranians took part last year, but have been effectively barred from this year’s event after negotiations between the two countries fell apart.

Khamenei accused Saudi Arabia’s ruling family, who are the custodians of Islam’s holiest sites,  of politicising the pilgrimage, and turning themselves into “small and puny Satans who tremble for fear of jeopardising the interests of the Great Satan (the United States).”

“Saudi rulers… who have blocked the proud and faithful Iranian pilgrims’ path to the Beloved’s House, are disgraced and misguided people who think their survival on the throne of oppression is dependent on defending the arrogant powers of the world, on alliances with Zionism and the US and on fulfilling their demands,” he wrote.

Iran not to send Hajj pilgrims, blames Saudi

This month’s Hajj will be the first time in almost three decades that Iranian pilgrims have not participated. Khamenei was also fiercely critical of the Saudi response to a deadly stampede during last year’s Hajj, which killed some 2,300 foreign pilgrims, including an estimated 464 Iranians.

“Instead of apology and remorse and judicial prosecution of those who were directly at fault in that horrifying event, Saudi rulers — with utmost shamelessness and insolence — refused to allow the formation of an international Islamic fact-finding committee,” he said.


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Reader Comments (47)

  • Ahsan
    Sep 5, 2016 - 1:56PM

    Muslim should not listen to hypocritical leaders. These leaders have started many wars for their own personal gain.Recommend

  • BrainBro
    Sep 5, 2016 - 1:58PM

    These guys have been at it since the 6th century AD. It is not going to change.Recommend

  • Suhail Sheikh
    Sep 5, 2016 - 2:02PM

    The intentions are becoming clearer now. Recommend

  • abdul
    Sep 5, 2016 - 2:03PM

    Spot on! Khamenei is right.Recommend

  • muhammed
    Sep 5, 2016 - 2:11PM

    the Iranians r not fooling anyone with their secterian agenda. This is just a cover. Khomeini said 40 years ago our religion will not flourish until we get Makka and medinah. The export of their ideology to neighbouring states is part of the same plan. Yemen and Bahrain takeover attempts r part of the same planRecommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Sep 5, 2016 - 2:47PM

    I’ve read it all and still have no idea what the actual problem is.Recommend

  • Iralan
    Sep 5, 2016 - 3:06PM

    Iran wants its own Mecca medina in Tehran.Recommend

  • Bash gul
    Sep 5, 2016 - 3:16PM

    Saudi Arabia is doing a great job welcoming and looking after 3 million pilgrims during the Hajj Season. No one in this world could have done it better. The arrangements are superb, especially the transport system. What the world does not know, and I have been witness to it, that the Iranians want to disrupt the Hajj by taking out processions and shouting slogans, which goes against the spirit of Hajj.Recommend

  • Abdullah
    Sep 5, 2016 - 3:25PM

    Frustration, at its peak.Recommend

  • سے Shaam (Hanafi)
    Sep 5, 2016 - 3:52PM

    The Holy sites belong to entire Muslim Ummah, but true custodians from time immoral are the Saudis and they have been doing a good job.Don’t change it, if ain’t broke…Recommend

  • Corrupt...
    Sep 5, 2016 - 3:58PM

    Wasn’t it Iran who first declared that they won’t allow their citizen to travel to holy cities because of Iran relations with Saudis… and now they are crying.. Another stupid move by Iran, first turn religious affairs into political ones and later cry on it. Recommend

  • Political Expert
    Sep 5, 2016 - 4:10PM

    Saudia Arabia is caring the Haji’s in a good way. Iran is saying just give us the managment of Mecca and Madina and see the results. Everyone knows what happened last year in Kabaa and MinaaRecommend

  • wb
    Sep 5, 2016 - 4:19PM

    I think Khomenei doesn’t know that the real Thekedars of Makkah and Madinah is actually Pakistani army and not the Darul-Saud.

    Ask any Pakistani general and he will tell you that the ultimate responsibility of protecting Harmain Sharif will fall on Pakistan, if it is not already on them.

    Although many believe that it is because of Pakistan that Harmain Shareef is safe today.

    So, Khomenei, you should talk to Pakistan and not Saud.Recommend

  • cautious
    Sep 5, 2016 - 4:25PM

    Reminds me of Pakistan complaining about Kashmir – sometimes a good message is tainted by the messenger. Recommend

  • wajeeh ul hassan
    Sep 5, 2016 - 4:40PM

    Well said Khamenei Recommend

  • SK5
    Sep 5, 2016 - 4:46PM

    @Bash gul:

    Can you explain the 2000+ reported deaths from last years Hajj?, is this an example of great management?. Some of you people really need to stop following Saudi blindly just because they hold the keys to Makka.Recommend

  • Saleem
    Sep 5, 2016 - 4:56PM

    Please check your history before making such statements. These Baudian occupied these sides less then a hundred years ago. This was done with the help of their masters, whom they serve to this day.

    Like the Vatican these sites must be managed independent of vested interestsRecommend

  • truth111
    Sep 5, 2016 - 5:37PM

    The only world leader who can speak truth with courage against all small and big evil. Live long khamenei..Recommend

  • az
    Sep 5, 2016 - 5:48PM

    The holy sites belong to all Muslims so should be managed in accordance to their wishes not the wishes on one family Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Sep 5, 2016 - 6:07PM

    I hereby nominate Khamenei to ‘manage’ our 3rd holiest site: Jerusalem. If he can do that, reconsideration of what he is saying is certainly warranted.Recommend

  • M.A
    Sep 5, 2016 - 6:19PM

    Can’t wait for your Messiah to kill all non-shias , right?
    Now you want Muslims divided by agitating them against saudia? Nice try. It won’t ever happen iA. Recommend

  • Suhail Sheikh
    Sep 5, 2016 - 6:20PM

    Will Khameini allow Saudis and other Muslims from other countries to interfere in karbala and Najaf ??? Recommend

  • M. Emad
    Sep 5, 2016 - 6:57PM

    Saudi management of Hajj, Holy sites are not good.Recommend

  • Harshad
    Sep 5, 2016 - 8:50PM

    Learn how to manage holy place from indian government. We manage billions of peoples during kumbh mela without any stampede and uncertain event.Recommend

  • Maqbool
    Sep 5, 2016 - 9:45PM

    There should be an independent body comprising members from all Muslim countries to look after those holy sites. One family cannot be the CEO of holy sites.Recommend

  • system
    Sep 5, 2016 - 9:50PM

    read history and attack on Makkah/ kabbah last century will revealed many truth Recommend

  • Zafar
    Sep 5, 2016 - 10:19PM

    They can’t even spare Hajj from politicization. Last year Iran politicized the death of Hujjaj, which was tragic and it didn’t had to do with people’s sectt. In my opinion the Saudis are managing it quiet well and its their right as well to host the hujjaj which they do without any prejudice to any sectt. Recommend

  • Zafar
    Sep 5, 2016 - 10:24PM

    Given the rivalry, they can have organize their own HajjRecommend

  • Yazeed Hussein Ali
    Sep 5, 2016 - 10:28PM

    Muslims should reconsider it’s relationship with Iran regime which is only following sectarian policies by killing almost one million sunni Muslims in Iraq and Syria and trying to change demographics the region based on sectarian ground.Recommend

  • Jahan Ara
    Sep 5, 2016 - 11:02PM

    Will somebody tell why there is not a single Sunni mosque in Tehran? Muslim Embassies have bren continously requesting Iran Govt. To allow at least one mosque but it has not been allowed Recommend

  • Suhail Sheikh
    Sep 5, 2016 - 11:17PM

    @Yazeed Hussein Ali:
    You are absolutely right Recommend

  • Parvez
    Sep 5, 2016 - 11:35PM

    This is classic diversionary tactics…….saying something one knows is next to impossible…..I wonder whats cooking.Recommend

  • MJ
    Sep 6, 2016 - 7:40AM

    So Karabala, Najf and Qom are also going to be managed by this “new” management or this transfer of authority only works one way?Recommend

  • Ali
    Sep 6, 2016 - 7:46AM

    No ThanksRecommend

  • Farhan Khan
    Sep 6, 2016 - 11:01AM

    @SK5: If you keep on following only Iranian news then I can only pity on your intellect…. official death count of last year Hajj is around 700, not 2000+… I can rest assure you cannot prove your claim just like Khamenei cannot prove himself as a leader of Muslims (ever)Recommend

  • ali
    Sep 6, 2016 - 2:05PM

    The countries should look at the Vatican model. Although its in Italy, it is an independent country with guards – Guardia Svizzera – hired from a neutral country. The Italian government has no jurisdiction or influence over it.Recommend

  • SK5
    Sep 6, 2016 - 2:43PM

    @Farhan Khan

    See the following link from Al Jazeera English (Qatari) regarding the death toll of 2000+

    The death toll is probably more considering how Saudi won’t allow an independent fact finding body to investigate this further. Hiding atrocities will never work, they always come to light.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Sep 6, 2016 - 4:10PM

    When Iranian Mullahs say “Muslims”, it means Shia Muslims and When Saudis say it, they mean non Shias. This is a fact. Nobody can make them one. They are fighting for the last 1400 years and they will keep on doing till the day of judgement. There is no solution to this problem, don’t waste time on it.Recommend

  • reader
    Sep 6, 2016 - 6:16PM

    This is one more problem in the world that might get worse, that is the real danger. The Iranians and Saudi’s were never ever close. Their history, culture, geography, language, values, are very different. With the discovery of Oil the antagonism has increased. Pakistan should not take sides. Tolerance in life is very important. Recommend

  • observer
    Sep 7, 2016 - 3:29PM

    When every Muslim majority Country wishes to be acknowledged as the leader of the Muslim World, this is what happens. The West has realized that religion and State are two different issues, the Muslim world has to learn this also, but how long will it take, that is the question. Recommend

  • Real Reason
    Sep 7, 2016 - 5:43PM

    The real reason of Iran since decades is to capture the Holy Cities and convert them in to grave worshiping places.Recommend

  • Raghu
    Sep 7, 2016 - 5:46PM

    What a shame. Now the Iranis are comparing the Holy cities with Vatican. You can go a live there if you like.Recommend

  • ahmad
    Sep 7, 2016 - 6:02PM

    @Yazeed Hussein Ali:
    don’t you think you should reconsider your name. how come yazeed with Hussain and Ali ?Recommend

  • Rosy
    Sep 7, 2016 - 7:40PM

    @ahmad:. As Shakespeare said a Rose is a Rose by whatever name you wish to call it. Recommend

  • Raghu
    Sep 8, 2016 - 10:05AM

    Nothing wrong with the name, We should not stop keeping a name because of some incidents in the past. Recommend

  • imran
    Sep 8, 2016 - 6:00PM

    @Suhail Sheikh:
    i have never seen any stampede in karbala or najaf like we seen in makah last year or often we see. sometime people topple from mountain sometime we seen fire in the tent. Recommend

  • Gumnam
    Sep 9, 2016 - 5:13PM

    Maybe you forgot the number of suicide attacks in Karbala. We believe the Iraqi government is not doing the right steps and the OIC shall intervene and take control of it. I assume you wont mind the IC doing that. Right?Recommend

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