ARAFAT, Saudi Arabia — Iranian hajj pilgrims carried out a peaceful protest without incident on Thursday as millions of Muslims amassed for the peak of the world’s largest annual pilgrimage.
Ignoring Saudi warnings against political activity, the Iranians chanted for Muslim unity and against the “enemies” of the faith in their camp at Arafat outside of Mecca.
“Death to America, death to Israel,” thousands of Iranians chanted inside a huge tent on the Arafat plain.
No Saudi security forces were evident as Ayatollah Muhammed Rishari, the representative of Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, led the Iranian delegation.
“We need to be purified from our wrongdoings in this hajj,” he said in a statement.
“We need all Muslims, Sunni and Shiite, to be unified and focus on important issues: Al-Aqsa (mosque in Jerusalem), the occupation of Palestine, the problems in Iraq, the Afghan occupation, and the fighting between brothers in Yemen. We need be purified from all infidels.”
Pilgrims flooded into the Arafat plain from Mecca and Mina before dawn for a key ritual around the site where the Prophet Mohammed gave his farewell sermon on this day on the Islamic calendar 1,377 years ago.
During the hajj pilgrims spend the day at Arafat in reflection and reading the Koran.
Many could be seen Thursday morning gazing up into the sky with their palms held upward, recitin… >>>