American Muslims on the Hajj, 2002

February 11, 2002

Source: The Seattle Times

On February 11, 2002, The Seattle Times reported that the "Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam every Muslim is obliged to follow. It's a five-day period that begins the eighth day of Dhul-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. That's expected to begin next Monday this year. Muslims worldwide are heading to the holy city... In recent years, safety and security have become concerns as 2 million pilgrims converge on Mecca, Mina and other places in Saudi Arabia. Some have died, trampled by crowds, while taking part in hajj... At least 150 Muslims from Washington [State] plan to go this year, said Mohamad Joban, imam of Masjid Al-Nour in Olympia and president of the Islamic Center of Olympia, who is leading a group of 75 on hajj... This year, considering the attacks of Sept. 11, the war in Afghanistan and the escalating Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hajj will have special meaning for participants... 'We'll be praying for those who are victims,' said Mohaisen. 'We'll also be praying for the real Islam -- which means peace -- that I'll be experiencing in Mecca. Not the kind of Islam that the attackers on Sept. 11 showed.'"