RealNews

Saudis Gear Up for Hajj Amid Concerns

Muslims are converging on Mecca for the hajj, Islam’s annual pilgrimage that has been plagued by fires, stampedes and occasional riots. The risks are even greater this year, with Saudi authorities also worried about diseases and terrorism. More than 2 million Muslims are expected for the pilgrimage that will climax late this month, a devotion required once in the lifetime of every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. In a ritual lasting four to six days, pilgrims circle the Kaaba, the big stone structure that Muslims face during their five daily prayers; pray at Mount Arafat; throw pebbles at three pillars symbolizing the devil; and slaughter a camel, sheep or cow to mark the beginning of Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice. Full Story

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