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SAUDI ARABIA: The holiest site in Islam

Far superior images will be running in the paper soon courtesy of photographer Irfan Khan.

But for now, here's a quick amateur video of Mecca's Grand Mosque shot from the 30th floor of a nearby building. If you look closely, you can see the motion of thousands of Muslim pilgrims performing ritual revolutions around the black cube of the Kaaba.

Blog Mapper: Tracking the Hajj

— Ashraf Khalil in Mecca

Comments () | Archives (4)

Yishai Kohen:

There are no non-Muslims in Makkah and Madinah for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, during the actual Hajj, it would be an absolute logistical nightmare. It is difficult enough to track 2-3 million Muslims over a 5 to 14 day period. The Saudi gov't, for all their flaws, act as HOST to the pilgrims. The courtesies they extend to the Muslims are innumerable, and number in the millions of dollars. Secondly, there were well-publicized cases of criminal and terrorist plots by non-Muslims in history, including an attempt to steal the body of the Prophet. The Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence actually has NO ban on non-Muslims entering any mosque, even those in Makkah and Medinah, as long as Muslim tradition is respected. So the ban has nothing to do with traditional Islam, but reflects the realities of the world.

Salaams to Ashraf Khalil and Irfan Khan:

Thank you for your dispatches from the Hajj. As an American Muslim, I rarely see any humanizing stories in the mainstream media about Muslims and their connection to their faith. Yours is a notable exception.

Kudos to the LA Times. More like this.

There are probably many hundreds of Hajj attendees from southern California. If not more.

Awesome site, and very surreal with the starbucks nearby... do they use zam zam water inthe lattes? Thanks for the great blog updates... its is a great way to see what our family and friends are experienceingover there!

And no matter how hard you look, you will see no non-Muslims because non-Muslims are BANNED BY LAW from Mecca- and Medina.

Why is it politically incorrect to talk about the double-standards here; that they demand the sun, the moon, and the stars from everyone else, but do not believe in simple quid pro quo?


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