MINA, Saudi Arabia (AFP) – Saudi King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz marked the start of Eid al-Adha with a call on Muslims to disavow terrorism, which they said was taboo in Islam.
“The meanings of the Eid in Islam are many. They include the Muslim’s sympathizing with the needs of fellow Muslims … and cooperating with them in what is good … away from excess and extremism,” they said in a joint message on the occasion of the Feast of the Sacrifice, Islam’s most important holiday.
Muslims should embark united on “a course that disavows terrorism, which spreads mayhem and seeks destruction and was forbidden by Islam,” said the message to Muslims reported by official media.
King Fahd and Abdullah, de facto ruler of the oil-rich kingdom, made similar remarks in their Eid al-Adha message last year.
Since May 2003, Saudi Arabia has been battling a wave of terror by presumed Islamist extremists from Al-Qaeda, who have killed more than 100 people and wounded hundreds more in a spate of bombings and shootings.
Saudi Arabia, whose ties with the United States were strained in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks in which 15 of 19 hijackers were Saudi, was exempted by a US federal judge Tuesday from prosecution over the attacks.
The judge exempted several Saudi leaders and financial institutions, ruling that the plaintiffs did not provide sufficient proof of their alleged involvement in the attacks on New York’s twin World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon (news – web sites), outside Washington, which killed some 2,700 people.
However, he permitted cases to be brought against a number of Saudi institutions.
Some two million Muslim pilgrims from around the world performing the annual hajj were due to return to Mecca on Thursday, a day after the culmination of their pilgrimage on Mount Arafat, near the holy city.
Most will sacrifice an animal, generally a sheep, in remembrance of Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son to God.
On Friday and Saturday, they will return to Mina to stone the “jamarat”, or three pillars symbolizing the devil — the ultimate but also the most dangerous hajj ritual.