Mecca: 2 million people stone the devil

About two million pilgrims made the symbolic stoning of the devil in Mecca, the last rites of the annual pilgrimage.

Ceremony marks the beginning of Eid Al Adha, according to Gulf News

Muslims participating in the annual Hajj pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam, crossed the Mina Valley in Makkah province, western Saudi Arabia, carrying pebbles in plastic bottles of water.

The pilgrims dressed on white, threw seven stones each on a pillar symbolizing Satan, shouting “Allahu akbar” (“God is the greatest”) under the watchful eyes of the security forces.

Big fans were spraying water on the crowd when the temperature reached 44 degrees Celsius.

“Thank God, there were not too many people this year. There was no big haste,” said Mohammea Osman, 27, who regularly attends Hajj.

Mina was the site of a 2015 stampede that saw more than 2,300 pilgrims crushed or suffocated.

The authorities have since strengthened stricter security and safety measures.

“We are under the protection of God,” said May Khalifa, a 37-year-old Muslim living in Riyadh.

“Despite exhaustion, I enjoy my first haj,” she said, lifting her little bag of stones.

Via: Gulf News

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