The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep condolences to the Muslim community following the tragedy in Mina, after a stampede took the lives of more than 700 people in attendance for the annual Islamic pilgrimage.

Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair, and Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We are deeply saddened by the loss of life near the holy city of Mecca and express our condolences to the families of those who perished and to the entire Muslim community across the globe. This horrific catastrophe touches all who value and respect religious commitment and devotion.

The Hajj is one of the ‘arkan al-Islam,’ the five pillars of Islam; for many participants this is truly the journey of a lifetime. We are pained that this sacred occasion has been marred by tragedy and pray for the recovery of the injured.

We also appreciate the words of Pope Francis, who in his remarks at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York voiced “sentiments of closeness in the face of the tragedy that (Muslim) people suffered today in Mecca” and called for prayers for those who lost their lives in the tragedy.