In 2013, a group of American Muslims from Dearborn, Michigan, was attacked during the Hajj by a group of Australian pilgrims because they are Shias, a minority denomination within Islam. The Americans were physically and verbally assaulted—including men being strangled and women threatened with rape—and alleged that though Saudi authorities were present, these authorities did not intervene or take their complaints seriously. Further, the victims allege that Saudi authorities deleted cell phone video recordings of the attack. The victims sought assistance from the U.S. Embassy, but disturbingly their phone calls were not returned.RNS reports on the letter. On Sunday, without mentioning the letter, the State Department posted a Hajj Fact Sheet on its website. The section on Safety mentions problems of fraud and theft, but does not allude to physical attacks. The State Department's website also has a general page on "Help for U.S. Citizen Victims of Crime Overseas."
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
American Muslims Seek U.S. Protection During Hajj
Last week, a coalition of 28 Muslim groups in the United States wrote Securetary of State John Kerry (full text of letter) asking for U.S. action to protect the safety of American Muslims who will travel to Saudi Arabia in October on Hajj. According to the letter, in the past protection was lacking: