News / Middle East

Hajj Pilgrims Reflect on Regional Conflicts

VOA News
Thousands of Muslim have been arriving in the Saudi city of Mecca for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

As the sun rose over Mount Arafat, a sea of pilgrims began converging on the region.

Adnan Terkawi, from Syria, had thoughts for peace throughout the Middle East.

"I supplicate to God for calm in all Arab and Muslim countries, and in Syria in particular. I hope that Syria will return to normal as a safe and secure country," he confided.

Other pilgrims were basking in the significance of the Hajj, which is one of the pillars of Islam and is considered the ultimate act of worship for Muslims.

Sahar Hanafi, from Egypt, has been planning this trip for years.

"I have been hoping to come [to Hajj] for five years," she said. "I cry when I see the pilgrims on television. At long last I'm here, I feel that the wordly life in nothing." she said.

Others shared Sahar's excitement for making the Hajj pilgrimage. 

"This is the big day in my life and I feel too much holy and too much happy.  We don't have feeling to express this , how much I feel," said Mohammad Makbul, a Pakistani pilgrim.  

Amneh Shamari, a young pilgrim from Syria, is also very excited.

"Today is the climax of the great Hajj, the best day," she said.   

Muslims are expected to make at least one visit to Mecca.

The Hajj observance is in the midst of a five day run, which began on Wednesday.

  • Muslim pilgrims cast stones at a pillar, symbolizing the stoning of Satan, in a ritual called "Jamarat," a rite of the annual Hajj, the Islamic faith's most holy pilgrimage, in Mina near the Saudi holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012.
  • Youssef, 3, a Muslim pilgrim from Egypt walks with his grandfather to casts stones at a pillar near the Saudi holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October 26, 2012.
  • A Muslim pilgrim has his head ritually shaved after he cast stones at a pillar in Mina near the Saudi holy city of Mecca, October 26, 2012.
  • Muslim pilgrims pray on a rocky hill called the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in the early hours of October 25, 2012.
  • Muslim pilgrims pray near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October 25, 2012.
  • Crowds bow in prayer outside the mosque of the Plain of Arafat near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October 25, 2012.
  • Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba to pray inside the Grand mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October 23, 2012.
  • A man carries a sheep through a livestock market in Sanaa, October 24, 2012. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha to mark the end of the Hajj by slaughtering sheep, goats, cows and camels.
  • A boy dances with a sheep at a livestock market ahead of Eid al-Adha festival in Sanaa, October 24, 2012.
  • Muslim pilgrims pray outside the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October 23, 2012.
  • Muslim pilgrims pray outside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October 23, 2012.
  • A Muslim pilgrim shops in a gold market in Mecca, October 23, 2012.
  • Muslim pilgrims leave the Grand mosque after the noon prayer in Mecca, October 22, 2012.
  • Muslim pilgrims pray outside the Grand mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October 22, 2012.

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Comment Sorting
by: Philip Smeeton
October 25, 2012 11:44 AM
How did Islam get a hold on so many followers? The answer is by force then brainwashing and of course instant death to any that renounce or oppose it. Islam is a perfect system of tyranny. The one thing certain is that it is dynamically opposed to our hard-won Western values and it may well defeat us as values such as equality and tolerance have no defence against intolerance; those that want to live have no defence against suicidal maniacs and any treaties Muslims make are bound to be broken. They are masters of propoganda portraying us as the evil ones and themselves as the victims.

Western leaders are hypnotized by it and the electorate choose not to see the growing danger. The devotees of Islam follow it blindly, fanatically, accepting no criticism; they are infected with malice, hate and envy. Like aliens from another planet they profess to come in peace while they thrive and multiply and plot our demise. The only defence we could have is to divorce ourselves from them entirely, but I do not look optimistically to the future, we are already invaded and rendered defenceless. Given the means I like many would fight this insidious evil to the death but we have no leadership and time is not on our side. I will not bow to Islam.
In Response

by: john from: german
October 26, 2012 12:18 AM
You're absolutely right , i completely agree with your point. Just look at the world, where there is islam, there is violence and splittism. They're eager to spend all time and money on murdering and violence, refused to work and live peacefully, so their society will never catch up the modernizition and civilization. They accepting no criticism from outside world and insisted what they have done are entirely right, including the attacks and terror. To the below followers of islam, just think about what you muslim have done to the world, can you see any peace in your muslim world? Just think about it seriously and don't find any excuse for the crime.
In Response

by: Valery Kashin
October 25, 2012 4:21 PM
You are 100% correct, but the anti-Christian hatemongers will come out of the woodwork to attack you.

This VOA article is a joke, and has nothing to do with their alleged charter or prupose.

As an American, this is assuredly NOT my voice, and I find it repugnant I am forced to pay tax dollars to support this propaganda.
In Response

by: Dee from: USA
October 25, 2012 3:27 PM
Are you seriously delusional? and/or How old are you?

It's people like you who create rifts, hatred, anger -- STOP the animosity! Learn about others and appreciate them! So many faiths have festivals that millions follow - are you going to put them down too?

I'm a teenage Hindu girl and I take offense to comments like yours that wish to put down others. You should be ashamed of yourself and educate yourself! Don't judge a religion/country/race/language based on a few peoples' actions or your pre-conceived notions....
In Response

by: Gary Brown from: Charleston
October 25, 2012 2:25 PM
To Philip Smeeton: "How did [Christianity] get a hold on so many followers? The answer is by force then brainwashing and of course instant death to any that renounce or oppose it. [Christianity] is a perfect system of tyranny."

"The devotees of [Christianity] follow it blindly, fanatically, accepting no criticism; they are infected with malice, hate and envy."

If you dispute this, brush up on your history lessons, destroy your television and start reading. Crusades? Spanish Inquisition? American "Manifest Destiny?" Salem witch trials? The Roman Catholic Church's complicity in the Holocaust...their rampant and centuries old perversions against youth? Christian leaders' hate-filled rhetoric regarding gays and lesbians and victims of rape?How many treaties did Christian American leaders make and break with Native Americans? The list of Christian atrocities is a thousand miles long.

I am no apologist for Islam. It is an equally perverted religion. Judaism is not a whole lot better. Reflect on all of the present violence in the reflect some more. Where is it coming from?...[set to the cadence of "lions and tigers and bears, oh, my!!" from the Wizard of Oz---Christians and Muslims and Jews, OH MY!!!! THAT'x where it's all coming from.

by: Anonymous
October 25, 2012 11:09 AM
get your facts right, millions of people go to Hajj each year not thousands.
In Response

by: Dave from: Lincoln NE
October 25, 2012 2:44 PM
Maybe you should read more carefully: Arriving by the thousands-- which is surely impressive in itself-- soon adds up to millions.

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