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Pulpit call from Haj - Stay away from terror

On the last day of their Haj pilgrimage, around 25 lakh Muslims vowed to steer clear of fanaticism.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2006 19:26 IST
Zia Haq
Zia Haq
None

On the last day of their Haj pilgrimage, around 25 lakh Muslims vowed to steer clear of fanaticism. They were heeding the call of the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheik Abdul-Aziz al-Sheik, who was delivering his Haj sermon on the plains of Arafat on Tuesday.

The mufti said: “Shariat does not allow terrorism. Islam literally means peace. Brothers, unite for one another’s sake and follow true Islam.” The massive pilgrims’ gathering emphatically responded with a “yay” at the Nimrah mosque.

A Palestinian pilgrim from Hebron, Abdallah Miral, said: “We will follow what we have been asked to by the mufti.” The mufti said on Eid eve, “Muslims must reflect on the true Islam — a moderate, gentle and peaceful religion established by Prophet Mohammad.” Pilgrims had converged on Mina to celebrate Eid al-Adha on Tuesday even as they ritually stoned the three devils. Many had stoned the pillar symbolising the bigger devil at Jamrat on Monday night itself to avoid the surging crowds during the day. Deadly stampedes have been a regular feature in the past, with 244 pilgrims being crushed to death at the Jamrat bridge in 2004.

The stoning area has been expanded to help ease the massive crowds at the venue this time around.

Some 60,000 Saudi security personnel manned crowds and mounted one of the strictest vigils in recent years amid fears of attacks by the Al-Qaeda against the Saudi Royal family.

On Monday, the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, and Crown Prince Sultan had reviewed Haj facilities in the tent city of Mina.

First Published: Jan 14, 2006 19:26 IST