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Muslim Pilgrims Pray at Mount Arafat

By VOA News

Muslim pilgrims pray on a rocky hill called the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, 18 Dec. 2007 Nearly two million Muslim pilgrims have spent the day in prayer at Mount Arafat near Mecca, as the rites of the annual Hajj pilgrimage continue.

The noon prayer and sermon Tuesday at Namera Mosque is a major event, evoking the sermon the prophet Mohammad made from the hill in the year of his death in 632.

The culmination of the Hajj is the Eid al-Adha, the festival of the sacrifice, which this year falls on December 19 and December 20.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is performing the Hajj this year, the first time an Iranian president has ever participated.

Reuters news agency reports that a representative of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gave a speech to a group of Iranian pilgrims Tuesday, denouncing what he called "enemies of the Muslim nation."

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. Every Muslim who is able is required to make the pilgrimage at least once.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

... Payvand News - 12/19/07 ... --

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