- Title: SAUDI ARABIA: HAJ PILGRIMS STONE PILLAR REPRESENTING THE DEVIL.
- Date: 12th February 2003
- Summary: (W4) MENA, SAUDI ARABIA (FEBRUARY 11, 2003)(REUTERS) 1. GV/LV: PILGRIMS HEADING TO THE PILLARS FROM VARIOUS DIRECTIONS (3 SHOTS) 0.20 2. LV/GV: PILGRIMS STONING THE GRAND JAMARAT PILLAR (3 SHOTS) 0.46 3. MV/GV: PILGRIMS STONING THE GRAND PILLAR FROM BENEATH THE BRIDGE (2 SHOTS) 0.58 4. GV: AMBULANCE MOVING AMONG CROWD 1.08 5. CU/GV: OLD PILGRIMS SHAVING HEADS (3 SHOTS) 1.22 6. CU/GV: INFANT RESISTING HEAD SHAVE (2 SHOTS) 1.34 7. MV/GV: VARIOUS THOUSANDS OF PILGRIMS KEEP ARRIVING TO THE AREA IN BUSES OR ON FOOT (2 SHOTS) 1.57 8. GV/MV: POLICE DIRECTING JAMMED TRAFFIC (4 SHOTS) 2.29 9. MV/GV: PILGRIMS ON TOP OF MINI-BUSES, SOME READING PAPERS (3 SHOTS) 2.50 (W4) ARAFAT, SAUDI ARABIA (FEBRUARY 10, 2003) (REUTERS) 10. MV/ZOOM OUT GV/LV: VARIOUS SEA OF PILGRIMS MOVING ON FOOT, EARLY EVENING ON MONDAY, TOWARDS MOZDALIFA BEFORE HEADING TO MENA AFTER MIDNIGHT (4 SHOTS) 3.26 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 27th February 2003 12:00
- Location: MENA AND ARAFAT, SAUDI ARABIA
- Country: Saudi Arabia
- Reuters ID: LVA56P7AIMR2I4AR0W8493SVRT9Z
- Story Text: Muslims around the world have celebrated Eid al-Adha
and two million pilgrims in Saudi Arabia have thrown pebbles
at a pillar representing the devil in the most accident-prone
part of the annual haj pilgrimage.
This year's spiritual quest and the feast of
sacrifice have been overshadowed by a build-up of U.S. troops
in the Gulf region for a possible attack on Muslim Iraq for
its alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction.
Some pilgrims used the occasion to vent their anger
against Israel and its main ally the United States.
The faithful, who made the pilgrimage to Mecca on Tuesday
(February 11), trekked to Mena from Muzdalifah on the
outskirts of the holy city where they had spent the night
after a day of prayers on Mount Arafat.
Chanting Islam's rallying cry of "God is Greatest", the
pilgrims in white seamless attire marched to Jamarat Bridge
where each pilgrim threw seven pebbles at a pillar erected
where Muslims believe the devil appeared to Abraham.
In 2001, at least 35 pilgrims died in a stampede at
Jamarat. Overcrowding at the bridge has in recent years posed
one of the biggest security challenges during the five-day
Thousands of policemen, wearing masks against the dust,
frantically tried to keep traffic flowing on Tuesday, often in
vain. Under a scorching midday sun, many pilgrims passed out
from fatigue. Some wailed after losing relatives in the crowd
as loudspeakers asked worshippers to clear the scene for
The ritual has gone smoothly so far this year under
massive security in the kingdom, which is a U.S. ally.
Thousands of troops have been deployed to prevent political
demonstrations and authorities have vowed to crush any group
Many pilgrims are opposed to war, and the Iraq campaign
has further fuelled deep resentment over what many Muslims see
as blind U.S. support for Israel against Palestinians.
A sermon at Mecca's Grand Mosque to mark Eid al-Adha made
no mention of the political tension in the region and spoke of
Muslim unity, peace and the five pillars of Islam.
Saudi King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah urged Muslims in
an Eid message to "build bridges of mercy, compassion and
harmony". Saudi Arabia is home to Islam's holiest shrines.
Slaughter houses in the Mecca area killed thousands of
sheep, cows and camels, symbolising God's last-minute command
to Abraham to slaughter a sheep instead of his son Ismail. The
Muslim holy book, the Koran, says God wanted to test Abraham's
faith by ordering him to sacrifice his son.
Most of the meat is given to poor Muslims around the world.
After throwing their stones, men cut their hair or shaved
it off. Pilgrims in white robes surged across the wide plain,
making a powerful contrast against dark hills.
They will spend the next two nights in Mena in thousands
of fire-resistant and air-conditioned tents before returning
Haj is mandatory once in a lifetime for every able-bodied
Muslim who can afford it. Pilgrims begin the ritual by
retracing the footsteps of Prophet Mohammad 14 centuries ago.
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