The word ‘Biblical’ trended on Twitter on Saturday as a swarm of locusts harassed people attempting to pray at Mecca during the haji, a holy pilgrimage in Islam where millions of Muslims go to the holy city to pray.
Hundreds of attendees were visibly uncomfortable in videos posted on Twitter as they struggled to get what appeared to be thousands of cockroaches and grasshoppers off of them.
The locusts were likely the result of significant rainfall in Mecca that usually does not occur until later in the year.
Twitter users called the locust infestation ‘biblical’ while others called it karmic, with one user saying it was ‘karma’ for all the ‘evil and suffering’ Islamic fundamentalists have caused in the world while another said that it was a ‘plague upon their house.’
#Mecca #SaudiArabia Locusts. A plague upon their house (looks like cockroaches to me) pic.twitter.com/EPMB4tVf5s
— נעמי (@NaomiLitvin) April 12, 2023
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Another user said that the plague of locusts was a ‘sign from god’ while Muslims on Twitter said that the Tweets were ‘hateful misinformation’ and claimed that the locust swarms were normal
Such misinformation and hatred. Mecca is in the desert and they’re locusts. Seeing them is a good sign the ecosystem is still in order https://t.co/RsSZcwio9E
— مُحَمَّد (@aljibaalu) April 15, 2023
Israel 365 News Reports–
Biblical wave of LOCUSTS swarm Mecca for Ramadan 🤔pic.twitter.com/cRygtD2hZ4
— Dr Taylor Marshall™️ (@TaylorRMarshall) April 14, 2023
Social media was abuzz with videos showing an infestation of unidentified bugs at the Great Mosque, the holiest mosque in all of Islam. It is the focus of the hajj, the pilgrimage, which draws millions of Muslims a year to Saudi Arabia. The swarm went unreported on Al Arabiya and other Arab media. The bugs appeared after an unseasonal rain that fell four days ago during Umrah, a lesser pilgrimage festival.
A video shared by the Mecca region’s official Twitter page, showed pilgrims performing the tawaf, when Muslims circumambulate the Kaaba, while others seized the moment to stand in the rain and pray in front of the Kaaba.
Videos posted after the rainstorm showed thousands of black bugs crawling on the white stone floor of the mosque. The videos identified the bugs as both cockroaches and grasshoppers. Video closeups appear to show long-legged grasshoppers.
A similar “plague of locusts” hit the Great Mosque in Mecca in January 2019.