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Tone-deaf 'praying' crane poem creates Saudi Twitterstorm Open in fullscreen

Alex Wright

Tone-deaf 'praying' crane poem creates Saudi Twitterstorm

At least 107 pilgrims were killed in the accident last week [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 September, 2015

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Blog: An inconsiderate and strange piece of poetry about last week's tragedy in Mecca has gotten a Saudi poet into hot water.
Poet and academic Fawaz al-Laaboun tweeted a short poem last week that said a crane that collapsed into Mecca's Grand Mosque, killing at least 100 people, fell because because it "wanted to pray".

The poet has been widely criticised and lampooned.

"I am amazed that the crane saw good tidings around it, so it fell to the ground in prayer. Blessed are the people who were killed by the crane, their souls have ascended together to God," tweeted Laaboun on Friday.

Shiekh Adel al-Kalbani, a senior Muslim cleric, was quick to condemn the "stupid" verse.

"This is talk about the crane falling down to pray is the stupidest kind of nonsense," said the former imam of the Grand Mosque.

"There must be an investigation into why the rest of the cranes didn't pray - perhaps they are liberal," he added.
     Thank God the other cranes were infidels
- Mohammad al-Garni

Kalbani then warned that using such language to describe the tragedy gave people the impression that being religious was deadly.

"Dear Muslim tragic poets, this is not the time to show off your terrible poetry - think about people's feelings before your come up with this stuff," said Dalya al-Shalan.

Another Saudi Twitterer posted images of a palm tree, cricket and a camel "praying", mocking Laaboun's poetry.

"Thank God the other cranes were infidels," said Mohammad al-Garni.

The crane collapsed during a thunderstorm with extremely high winds and was one of several working on a multi-billion-dollar expansion of the mosque to accommodate mounting numbers of faithful. At least 107 pilgrims were killed in the accident.

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