2.4 million pilgrims in final Hajj rituals as world’s Muslims begin Eid celebrations

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Hajj pilgrims perform the Jamrat ritual — symbolic stoning of the devil — in Mina on Tuesday. (AN photo)
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Hajj pilgrims perform the Jamrat ritual — symbolic stoning of the devil — in Mina on Tuesday. (AN photo)
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Hajj pilgrims perform the Jamrat ritual — symbolic stoning of the devil — in Mina on Tuesday. (AN photo)
Updated 22 August 2018
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2.4 million pilgrims in final Hajj rituals as world’s Muslims begin Eid celebrations

  • Saudi authorities say 2.37 million pilgrims, most of them from abroad, have arrived this year for the five-day Hajj
  • As pilgrims returned to Makkah to complete the final Hajj rituals, Muslims throughout the world began celebrating Eid Al-Adha

MAKKAH: More than two million Muslims took part in the symbolic stoning of the devil on Tuesday, the last major ritual of the Hajj pilgrimage that heralded the start of Eid Al-Adha.

Clad in white robes signifying a state of purity, men and women from 165 countries converged on Jamrat to perform the ritual from a three-story bridge.

Large fans sprayed water over the crowd as temperatures climbed to 44C.

Pilgrim Moueeneddine Ahmed, 35, from Bangladesh, complained of the scorching heat but said he was “very excited” to take part in the ceremony.

He also praised the Saudi authorities for maintaining order despite the vast crowd. “There’s a lot of security. Very disciplined,” he said.

In keeping with customs he said he would then “shave his head” and trade the white seamless robe he wore for the Hajj for his “normal clothes.”

 

 

Tens of thousands of security forces, including police and civil defense, have been deployed for Hajj, according to Saudi authorities.

Firas Al-Khashani, 33, a pilgrim from Jordan, was equally impressed. “The police assistance and the services were all extraordinary,” he said. 


“It is a beautiful feeling,” said Hazem Darweesh, 31, from Egypt. “The beauty of it is in the difficulty of performing it. It brings you closer to God.

Saudi authorities say 2.37 million pilgrims, most of them from abroad, have arrived this year for the five-day Hajj.

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King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received well-wishers on Tuesday at the Royal Court in Mina Palace.


“Our country’s greatest honor is to serve God’s guests,” the king said. “On Eid Al-Adha, I ask God to complete the pilgrims’ Hajj and to perpetuate goodness and peace for our nation and all other countries.”


As pilgrims returned to Makkah to complete the final Hajj rituals, Muslims throughout the world began celebrating Eid Al-Adha — the “feast of sacrifice” commemorating the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son on God’s command.

Palestinians visited the Haram Al-Sharif in Jerusalem’s Old City after morning prayers.

The festival was also celebrated across Africa and Asia. Thousands prayed in a field in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, in the Somali capital Mogadishu, and at Almaty central mosque in Kazakhstan.


Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program ‘fundamental to Kingdom’s energy sector’

Updated 18 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program ‘fundamental to Kingdom’s energy sector’

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s atomic energy program is fundamental for developing a sustainable energy sector, a senior minister told the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday.
The Kingdom plans to start building its first two nuclear power reactors this year and as many as 16 over the next 25 years at a cost of more than $80 billion. The plan is to provide 15 percent of Saudi Arabia’s power from nuclear by 2032.
Speaking at the IAEA’s annual conference in Vienna, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the atomic reactor projects were were part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to diversify its energy sources to nuclear and renewables.
The program “abides by all international treaties and conventions and best practices, adhering to the highest standards of safety, security and transparency,” Al Falih said.
The minister said Saudi Arabia was committed to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which calls for nuclear disarmament and stresses the commitment of nuclear power states to share their peaceful technologies with abiding member states.
He also said the Kingdom had called for cooperation with the international community to make the Middle East a nuclear weapons free area.
The US has started to reintroduce heavy sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, after Donald Trump pulled out of a deal with the country earlier this year to curb its atomic ambitions.
Al-Falih called on the international community to take a more stringent stance against all threats to regional and international security, particularly Iran, given its “alarming efforts to build its nuclear capabilities, in tandem with its increasing acts of sabotage and aggression against other states in the region.”