King Salmon, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is going to need a big mop this year. During the part of the Hajj where “Satan” is stoned by the Muslim faithful, stones and curses are thrown at a stone walls meant to represent Satan and usually he loses and most people would expect without arms or legs he could never win. Any Satanic victory in Mecca must be very embarrassing. The stampeding that has so far killed over 700 pilgrims is the worst in 25 years according to AP and the worst disaster since the 2006 loss of just under 350 people. So, how is it that the worse angel prevails? The Saudi Kingdom has been knocking down and paving over anything that is UNESCO worthy to build shopping malls and five star hotels, perhaps in the hopes of renaming the place Mecca Disney but it seems they may be lacking in crowd control. Perhaps, the Saudis should consider building more hospitals. There’s no reason why Islam’s holiest place has to seem more like an oversized European football/soccer stadium. There is only one good way to reduce the problems during the Hajj and that is to reduce the number of people. There are only three ways to reduce the number of people, either charge more and make everything more expensive, decide on a manageable number and limit visits to that number or let people trample each other to death. Option three is getting ugly.  I wish my Jewish readers l’shana tova and my Muslim readers an easy, reflective fast – Eid mubarak.


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