American Muslims on the Hajj, 2002

February 20, 2002

Source: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

On February 20, 2002 The Atlanta Journal and Consitution reported that "nearly 11,000 Muslims from the United States went on the hajj last year; Saudi officials say it's too early to determine whether attendance will be up or down this year... One influence on the turnout will be the increased tension in the Islamic world. The war in Afghanistan, sanctions against Iraq, escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians and U.S. warnings that the war on terrorism may spread to other countries have sparked concerns among many Muslims... Yusuf Wazeerud-din, a hajj coordinator for the Atlanta area, said [airport security] apprehensions are widespread among Muslims in Atlanta going on the hajj... Last year, Wazeerud-din said, 70 people went from his group; it's down to 15 or 20 this year. It's not just at U.S. airports that security has been tightened. Saudi Arabia also is clamping down... Despite such concerns, Muslims determined to go on the hajj say it is a central part of their faith and a time to put worldly matters aside... Indeed, this may be a year when Muslims place even greater emphasis on what the hajj is about, said Khalid Siddiq, director of the Al-Farooq Mosque in Atlanta and a Pakistani physician. 'I think there will be a genuine outpouring of prayer and sincerity. It will be much more than it has been in the past.'"