Stoning continues peacefully; Hajis out of ihram

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Pilgrims throw pebbles at pillars during the "Jamarat" ritual, the stoning of Satan, in Mina on Tuesday. (SPA)
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Pilgrims throw pebbles at pillars during the "Jamarat" ritual, the stoning of Satan, in Mina on Tuesday. (Arab News photo by Ahmad Hashad)
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A security officer assists an elderly pilgrim in throwing pebbles at pillars during the "Jamarat" ritual, the stoning of Satan, in Mina on Tuesday. (Arab News photo by Ahmad Hashad)
Updated 14 September 2016
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Stoning continues peacefully; Hajis out of ihram

MINA: Visibly relaxed Haj pilgrims performed the stoning ritual for the second consecutive day in Mina on Tuesday.
They carried out the ritual with relative ease. The stress that was so evident on Monday was gone.
The pilgrims had shed their ihram and were in colorful clothes. For the first time since the rituals began three days ago, they had time to catch up on news and flip through newspapers.
In many cases, younger pilgrims helped their parents, some in wheelchairs, make their way toward the massive multi-story Jamrat Complex where pilgrims cast pebbles at three large columns.
With just one day to go until this year’s Haj is complete, it was common to see many pilgrims engaged in prayer and supplication.
Munawwar Farooqui, from Lucknow in India, who had his head shaved in a tradition dating back to more than 1,400 years ago, said: “The stress of Haj is a metaphor for what must be borne in life. It teaches us that all life is a spiritual quest.”
Canadian pilgrim Assad Yakoub said: “I realize the mercy of Allah, that we are here to seek His forgiveness, and that this Haj will make a change in my life so that I can become a better Muslim.”
Meanwhile, the security forces chief revealed on Tuesday that his men in uniform had stopped 200,000 drivers from sneaking more than 500,000 undocumented pilgrims into the holy sites.
Lt. Gen. Khaled Al-Harbi said the offenders had their fingerprints taken which were passed to the relevant authorities.
He said the rigorous application of security standards prevented the entry of illegal pilgrims, contributing significantly to the smooth progression of the Haj rituals.
He said the ground floor of the Jamrat Bridge accommodated 500,000 pilgrims at a time while 350,000 others were distributed to other floors.
Save for the blistering weather, everything went smoothly and according to plan.
The five-day-long pilgrimage is a series of rituals meant to cleanse the soul of sins and instill a sense of equality and brotherhood among Muslims.
Over the years, the government has spent billions of riyals to improve the safety of the pilgrimage, particularly in Mina.
Narrow streets that lead to the large pedestrian paths around the Jamrat Complex have been widened.
The pilgrims will stream out of Mina on Wednesday after performing what for many has been a once-in-a-lifetime journey of faith.


Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat: ‘Our security and religion are a red line’

Updated 19 May 2019
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Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat: ‘Our security and religion are a red line’

  • Al-Jubeir's statement comes following last week's attacks on Saudi oil tankers in the Arabian Gul and installations within the Kingdom
  • He accused Iran of committing "countless crimes" including seeking to destabilize the region

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is doing its best to avoid war in the region but stands ready to respond with "all strength and determination" to defend itself from any threat, the Kingdom's top diplomat said on Sunday.

In a news conference, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir accused Iran of committing "countless crimes" including seeking to destabilize the region. He urged the international community to take responsibility to stop the Islamic republic from doing so.

"Our security and religion are a red line," Al-Jubeir said. His statement comes following last week's attacks on Saudi oil tankers in the Arabian Gulf and installations within the Kingdom.

Iran’s foreign minister was quoted by the state-run IRNA news agency on Saturday as saying his country is “not seeking war” even as the chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Tehran was in a “full-fledged intelligence war with the US.“

The US has ordered bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Arabian Gulf over an unexplained threat they perceive from Iran, raising tensions a year after Trump pulled America out of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Al-Jubeir said Iranian regime can spare the region the dangers of war by adhering to international laws and covenants, by stopping its interference in the internal affairs of other countries of the region, by stopping its support for terrorist groups and militias, and immediately halting its missile and nuclear weapons programs.

"Saudi Arabia stresses that its hand is always extended to peace and seeks to achieve it, and believes that the peoples of the region, including the Iranian people, have the right to live in security and stability and to move towards development," he said.

"We want peace and stability and we want to focus on the Kingdom's Vision 2030 which will enrich Saudi people’s lives," he added.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have repeatedly accused Iran of bankrolling the activities of its proxy Shiite militias such as the Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and various groups in Iraq.

Houthi militias had repeatedly launched ballistic missiles and rockets into civilian targets in Saudi Arabia since a Saudi-led Arab Coalition threw its support behind the government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi against the Iran-backed power-grabbers. Last week, they owned responsibility for the drone attacks on two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Jubeir also urged Qatar, an estranged member of the GCC to stop supporting extremists and terrorists and return to the fold. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt severed trade and diplomatic ties with Qatar in 2017, charging Doha of siding with terror groups that have been destabilizing the region. 

Instead of making amends with its GCC brothers, Qatar sought help from Turkey and Iran in bid to alleviate the impact of the boycott action of the group known as the anti-terror quarter (ATQ).