Special to the JTA an Unholy Gathering at a Holy Site
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Special to the JTA an Unholy Gathering at a Holy Site

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Although it is already old news in the Arab papers, it has not received coverage in the Jewish press.

This year the four-day Moslem observance of Eid-al-Adha fell on August 16-19, marking the end of Ramadan, the 30-day period when the Moslem faithful fast from sunrise to sunset.

The festival of Eid-al-Adha is the time of the haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca which every Moslem is enjoined to make at least once in his lifetime, circumstances permitting.

According to the Saudi Gazette, 856,718 Moslem pilgrims from 119 countries converged for the haj on Mecca, the holiest of holy sites, and the proceedings went without a hitch.

The most important ritual of the haj is the supplication of the faithful on the Plain of Arafat, where the Prophet himself delivered his last sermon. Temperatures reached 113 degrees Fahrenheit; ambulances roamed the area to care for sunstroke victims.

The pilgrims’ descent to the Plain of Arafat from the height of Mina was supervised by King Fahd himself. In the words of the Saudi Gazette, this was to “ensure that everything is running the perfect way.”


The principal sermon of the festival was delivered by Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Abdallah Al-Sheikh from the Al-Nimrah Mosque in the Plain of Arafat. The proceedings were broadcast live in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and elsewhere. They were also translated into English, French, Urdu, Persian, Indonesian, Somali, Turkish and other languages.

The Sheikh urged the devout, who, according to the Saudi Gazette listened with “rapt attention,” to adhere to the Koran and to fear God. “The fear of God by man will have positive effects during his lifetime and hereafter.”

“Enemies rose up against the Prophet’s (Mohammed’s) call, but God made him triumph,” the Sheikh’s sermon continued.

The Jews are the “enemies” of Moslem unity, the faithful were told. The Jews “always attempt to divide the Muslim people and their united world, so that they can dominate them.”

“The animosity of the Jews against this religion and its followers will continue till the Doomsday,” according to the Sheikh. But, he added, there is a purpose to the struggle: “The Almighty created the conflict between the right and wrong to purify the faith of the believer.”

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