2003 News Story

This year's pilgrimage progressing smoothly

Minister of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance Shaikh Salih Al-Ashaikh, during an inspection tour of Mina yesterday, commented on the importance of the pilgrimage, decried the campaigns launched against Islam, and urged Muslims to adhere strictly to the Holy Qur'an and to the Sunnah [teachings of the Prophet]. He warned against demoralization, and said Muslims should always believe in the support of Almighty God. Reiterating the ministry's determination to shoulder its responsibilities, he gave assurances that it will follow a moderate line, abjuring extremism and fanaticism. Islam, he said, should never be held responsible for the wrong behavior of some of its followers. He went on to condemn the exploitation of the pilgrimage season for political purposes, saying hajj is exclusively for the worship of God.

Governor of Makkah Province Prince Abdulmajeed bin Abdulaziz reported today that the pilgrims had arrived in Mina according to plan. All required facilities including medical services are available at Mina. The National Guard, the armed forces, and the security forces, as well as the Red Crescent Society and the Ministry of Health, have set up hospitals, health centers, and treatment centers for heat exhaustion. There is adequate food and abundant drinking water; and Saudi Telecom has set up telephone booths and postal centers for ease of communication.