Ahmadinejad leaves Iran to perform hajj

Graphic: Univ. of Texas, Austin

Ahmadinejad will have lots of company on his journey. Today’s IOL reports that up to three million Muslims from around the world will attend this year’s Hajj.

One of the ‘five pillars of Islam’, this annual pilgrimage must be taken once in the lifetime of each Muslim who can afford it. As we understand it, the event commences today and continues for five days. Pilgrims journey to the ‘Ka’aba’ in Mecca, which Muslims believe is ‘the house of God’. The ceremony is said to have been taught to Ishmael by Gabriel the Archangel.

Will Ahmadinejad throw stones at the devil? Will he blend in, wearing his ceremonial clothes (designed to make all pilgrims look the same)? Will he perform a ritual sacrifice himself, or will he ‘hire it done’? We’ll see. Certainly, this pilgrimage is an opportunity for geopolitical intrigue, is it not? — PID

December 18, 2007 (AFP) — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday left Tehran for Saudi Arabia to perform the hajj, the first Iranian leader to take part in the annual Muslim pilgrimage in the history of the Islamic republic. Full Report