Wednesday February 26, 2020

Security tactics being updated by Saudi after 2015 attacks at the world’s largest annual Muslim gathering ‘Haj’

Relations between Shi'ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia, which back opposing sides in Syria and other conflicts, plummeted after the 2015 crush

3
//
Muslim pilgrims and rescuers gather around the victims of a stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, Sept. 24, 2015 (VOA)

The world’s largest annual Muslim gathering, bringing some two million to Islam’s most sacred sites in Mecca, will also be a focus of concern about militant violence after a suicide bomber killed four soldiers in early July in the nearby city of Medina, Islam’s second holiest.

Custodian of Islam’s most revered places, Saudi Arabia stakes its reputation on organizing haj, one of the five pillars of Islam which every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to is obliged to undertake at least once.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook

Its prestige was damaged by the 2015 disaster, in which Riyadh said 769 pilgrims were killed – the highest haj death toll since a crush in 1990. Counts of fatalities by countries who repatriated bodies showed that over 2,000 people may have died in the crush, more than 400 of them Iranians.

People stand near the site of an explosion in Medina, Saudi Arabia, July 4, 2016 (VOA)
People stand near the site of an explosion in Medina, Saudi Arabia, July 4, 2016 (VOA)

Iran, Saudi Arabia’s main regional rival, blamed the disaster on organizers’ incompetence. An official Saudi inquiry has yet to be published, but authorities suggested at the time some pilgrims ignored crowd control rules.

This year, efforts are being made to strengthen crowd management.

Thousands of civil servants, security personnel and medics have been conducting drills in preparation for the pilgrimage, which officially starts this week.

Follow NewsGram on Twitter

The kingdom says it is deploying extra staff and increasing coordination with haj missions from pilgrims’ home countries to ensure worshippers comply with agreed schedules to perform various rituals. Hundreds of new surveillance cameras had been installed at the Grand Mosque.

“The scheduling program is the most important part of the operational program,” Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour Turki told Reuters.

“This is the area we have to concentrate on, to make sure pilgrims comply with it once they get there.”

Muslim pilgrims gather around the bodies of people crushed in Mina, Saudi Arabia during the annual hajj pilgrimage on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015 (VOA)
Muslim pilgrims gather around the bodies of people crushed in Mina, Saudi Arabia during the annual hajj pilgrimage on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015 (VOA)

Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al-Awsat said last month the Mecca Development Authority had set up electronic paths and gates to manage crowds heading to Jamarat, the symbolic stoning of the devil where many previous disasters have occurred.

The kingdom also is kitting pilgrims out with electronic wristbands to enable authorities to track the flow of people and get early warnings of crowd build-ups.

No politics

Relations between Shi’ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia, which back opposing sides in Syria and other conflicts, plummeted after the 2015 crush.

Riyadh then broke diplomatic ties when its Tehran embassy was stormed in January over the Saudi execution of a Shi’ite cleric.

Wary that some pilgrims may seek to use haj for ideological purposes, Saudi Arabia said it would not tolerate any attempt to politicize haj – remarks widely seen as referring to Iran.

Iran said in May its pilgrims would not attend, blaming Riyadh for “sabotage” and failing to guarantee their safety.

Saudi Arabia blamed Iran, saying it had demanded the right to hold demonstrations that would have created chaos.

But Saudi Arabia is worried that Iranian pilgrims coming from abroad or pro-Iranian pilgrims from other countries could still exploit the gathering to spread anti-Saudi messages. (VOA)

  • Arya Sharan

    It is sad to see religious places being targeted by terrorist groups who advocate for their respective religions.

  • Manthra koliyer

    The stampede resulted in the death of many people

  • Manthra koliyer

    The stampede has led to an increase in the security force!

Next Story

4 Tips to Boost Your Immune Function and Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Let’s take a look at four things you can do to boost your immunity

0
Flu
Tens of millions of people have already been affected by the flu so far during 2019-2020 Winter. 

People are on edge about the 2019 novel coronavirus. We keep hearing about the increasing number of new cases in China, and it seems to be spreading around the globe along with flu.

In response, face masks have been selling out around the world. Travel restrictions are also being implemented as public health officials try to figure out ways to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The precautions make sense since there are so many unknowns about the new virus, and people are understandably concerned. 

But there is another deadly virus that is already making its rounds – the influenza virus. And if you live in the United States, as of right now, you’re far more likely to be affected by the regular flu than the coronavirus.

Tens of millions of people have already been affected by the flu so far during 2019-2020 Winter. 

With the flu season in full swing, and so many things still unknown about coronavirus, now is the time to look at how you can shore up your body’s defense system.

Your immune system is responsible for protecting you against diseases like the flu. The immune system recognizes when harmful viruses and bacteria try to infiltrate your system, and it goes to fight and eliminate them. 

In the event you do fall sick, your immune system then works to help you recover from the illness.

The good news is that you can take steps to make sure your immune system is strong and healthy so it can do its job of keeping you healthy. 

Let’s take a look at four things you can do to boost your immunity.

1. Build lean muscle mass

Lean muscle isn’t just for looking good at the beach. It has various health benefits like fighting obesity, diabetes, as well as keeping your bones strong as you age.

But one of the key benefits of maintaining adequate muscle mass is that it helps you recover from illnesses.

When you get sick, your body needs more protein than usual. Protein provides critical fuel to help the immune system do its job. 

Often, dietary protein is inadequate, and your immune system looks to your body’s storage of proteins. And the more muscle mass you have, the higher your protein reserves. 

So, get to the gym and start lifting weights to build lean muscle mass and support immune function. Of course, a toned beach body is always a great bonus!

Support muscle growth with whey protein powder

There are two essential components to building muscle mass. You need to stress your muscles through exercise, which then kickstarts the recovery process. You also need the proper nutrition to aid muscle recovery, which results in new muscle tissue. 

So, you must aid your post-workout recovery with high-quality ingredients. 

Naked Nutrition’s premium whey protein powder contains only grass-fed whey from small California dairy farms. It contains no growth hormones or artificial additives. 

According to research, whey protein can result in higher post-workout muscle synthesis when compared to other types of proteins. 

Each serving of Naked Whey comes with 25 grams of protein and 5.9 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) to reduce exercise fatigue and promote faster recovery.

Naked Whey is soy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO.

Whey Protein
According to research, whey protein can result in higher post-workout muscle synthesis when compared to other types of proteins.

2. Get adequate restorative sleep

Sleep is one of the most critical aspects of maintaining good health. 

When you sleep, your body gets a chance to reset and rejuvenate. Your tissues get an opportunity to repair and grow. Energy levels are restored, and hormones are balanced, affecting almost every function in your body. Sleep is vital for muscle growth, which can boost immunity, as we’ve already discussed.

But sleep also has a direct effect on your immune system.

When you lack adequate sleep, you produce fewer cytokines, which are a type of protein that plays a role in protecting you against infections. It has even been shown that a chronic lack of sleep can make your flu vaccination less effective.

Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble falling asleep, try reducing your screen time (smartphones, TV, laptop) for a couple of hours before you go to bed.

Sleep
Sleep is one of the most critical aspects of maintaining good health.

If you can’t get eight hours at night, try to take short naps during the day to make up for lost sleep.

3. Eat foods rich in vitamin C

Most likely, you know about the link between vitamin C and the prevention of sickness. Or perhaps, you’ve tried supplementing with vitamin C when you’ve been ill in the past.

But your body absorbs minimal vitamin C when you take a supplement. The best way to keep your immune system firing on all cylinders is to eat foods that are rich in vitamin C.

Fortunately, vitamin C is readily available through diet. Foods such as spinach, kale, oranges, strawberries, and grapefruit, are all rich sources. Try to eat one or more of these foods daily since your body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C.

Strawberry
The best way to keep your immune system firing on all cylinders is to eat foods that are rich in vitamin C.

4. Minimize stress

According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress can negatively impact your immune function. People who suffer from loneliness, anxiety, or depression tend to get sick more often.

Even if you don’t have a clinical mood disorder, stress is something that affects all of us in today’s day and age. So, it makes sense to try and manage stress as much as we can.

Fortunately, if you follow two of the above recommendations, namely sleep and weightlifting, you’re already taking decisive action against stress. If you want to go one step further, consider adding a yoga or meditation practice to your routine.

Bonus tip for avoiding the flu

One of the simplest and most effective things you can do to prevent the flu is to wash your hands multiple times a day, for 20 seconds each time.

ALSO READ: In India, One in Three Smartphone User Shops Using M-Commerce Platforms: Survey

The flu virus commonly spread through hands. You may touch someone else or an object and then rub your nose or eyes. This is especially true if someone has a cold or the flu in your home.

So, make it a point to scrub your hands with soap for 20 seconds, at least five times a day. That, along with the four tips we discussed in the article, should be enough to keep you well and healthy through the flu season.