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Hajj Gets Under Way In Saudi Arabia --> Hajj pilgrims circumnavigate the Kaaba at Al-Haram Sharif Mosque in the holy city of Mecca (file photo) (DVIDS) December 28, 2006 -- The annual hajj pilgrimage is getting under way in Saudi Arabia, with more than 2 million Muslims expected to take part.

The pilgrims are converging on the Grand Mosque in Mecca and will then
follow a route around the ancient city in line with the tradition
established by the Prophet Muhammad.

Saudi authorities say they have
deployed thousands of extra medical and security personnel around Mecca
and Medina, Islam's two holiest places, to protect against possible
militant sectarian attacks or stampedes during the the five-day ritual.

(AFP, Reuters, BBC)
The Hajj

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THE HAJJ: Every year, Islamic pilgrims converge on the Saudi holy city of Mecca for what is considered to be the world's largest single gathering of human beings -- the annual hajj pilgrimage, the fifth and final pillar of Islam. Hajj literally means "to set out for a place," and every able-bodied Muslim with the means to do so is expected to make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime, traditionally after first settling all their wordly affairs...(more)