“Sierra Leone Pilgrims are Safe in Mecca”, Head of Hajj Mission
Sierra Leone pilgrims joined over 2.5 million pilgrims from over 180 countries across the world Friday, October 26, 2012, in the throwing of pebbles at pillars symbolizing the devil in the tent city of Mina, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sierra Leone flag flies high in Mecca)
In previous years, hundreds of people have been trampled to death in stampedes triggered by crowds trying to get close to the pillars to take their vengeance on the symbol of the devil.
In response to the huge number of pilgrims year after year, the Saudi authorities sought ways and means to remove the obstacles created by the increasing crowds at the stone throwing area (Jamarat) and thereby enable the pilgrims to perform their rituals with ease and in a safe way.
So far, there have been no major incidents reported among the Sierra Leone pilgrims – they are all safe at the moment, says the Head of the 2012 Hajj Mission, Sheka Sahid Kamara, (aka Shekitoo) who also doubles as Special Assistant to H.E the President on Social Affairs.
This year, over 800 Sierra Leoneans performed the Hajj, including 149 Imams across the country – the highest number of pilgrims in the history of Sierra Leone.
To complete the ritual, Scholars say, pilgrims must stone the three pillars, which is the final rite of the pilgrimage. Islamic Scholars said the ritual is an emulation of Prophet Ibrahim’s stoning of the devil at the three spots where he is said to have appeared trying to dissuade the biblical patriarch from obeying God’s order to sacrifice his son, Ishmael.
For the first time this year, the hajj is being streamed live on video-sharing website, YouTube in cooperation with the Saudi government. The stream can be seen at youtube.com/hajjlive.
Alhaji Jalloh, Information Attaché reports in Mina
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