November 26, 2009

Muslim Thanksgiving

Every Year, the Muslims embark on the Haj ritual. This is a ritual that every Muslim must undertake once in his life to be considered a true Muslim. I could make all sorts of religious jokes here, but that would be hypocritical. In the summer here, it rains on the way to or from Church, more often than than not, so it just goes to show that the Good Lord smiles on everyone equally.

Rain Complicating Islamic Hajj
Updated: Thursday, November 26, 2009 8:44 AM
People attending the Hajj Walk across flooded streets in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009. (AP Photo)

eavy downpours at Islam's holiest site sent millions searching for cover Wednesday, the opening day of Islam's annual Hajj.

A cold front which moved through northern and central Saudi Arabia is to blame for the
heavy rain, which brought 2.76 inches to Jiddah, more than the city would normally have in a year. In nearby Mecca, streets were flooded, and electricity flickered on and off during the day.

Jiddah is a common entry point on the Red Sea for those wishing to attend Hajj. From there, followers
travel the nearly 40 miles to Mecca. With streets flooded, and some roads closed, travel between the two cities came to a standstill.

At the Kaaba in Mecca, the courtyard was nearly empty as the
rain poured down. This area is generally packed during opening day.

With more showers expected through Friday, additional fears are beginning to arise. The
mountains surrounding Mecca are a place where many of the event's rites take place, and they are prone to mudslides. Also, additional flash flooding is possible.

Organizers fear that the event's biggest danger, stampedes, will also be magnified with the uncooperative weather.

Travel through Friday will be difficult as the millions move between sites. By Saturday, the weather is expected to improve.

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