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“I have just learned with shock and sorrow about the considerable and tragic loss of life among those participating in the Hajj due to the accident that has taken place today in Mina, near Mecca,” said Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

According to a BBC news report of 24 September, more than 717 people taking part in the Hajj pilgrimage have been killed in a stampede near the Islamic holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

“My heart goes out to the relatives of those who have died, and to those who have been wounded. I am saddened that people who are seeking to follow with loyalty and fidelity the tenets of their religion in this way should have suffered so grievously,” said the WCC general secretary.

“I offer my prayers for the wellbeing of the remaining pilgrims during the rest of their time in and near Mecca and then safe travel to their homes,” Tveit added.

WCC programme for inter-religious dialogue and cooperation