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    Muslim Pilgrims Begin Haj Pilgrimage


    by NTDTelevision

    Muslims from around the world begin to arrive in Mecca as they prepare for the annual Haj pilgrimage. The sacred event officially begins November 15th.

    Hundreds of thousands of worshippers -- Muslims from the world over converge on Islam's holiest city.

    They march toward Mecca -- in the footsteps of many generations before them.

    One Iranian pilgrim says the Haj brings people together.

    [Jawahiri, Iranian Pilgrim]:
    "I believe this a nice place in the world that God really created for all human beings over here. It shows the unity of all the people in the world."

    For this Egyptian woman, completing the annual Islamic pilgrimage has been a lifelong dream.

    [Majedah Mahmoud, Egyptian Pilgrim]:
    "Yes, this is a lifelong dream of mine, who does not dream of coming to perform Haj or Umrah (visit) and visit the sacred house of God."

    The Haj is associated with the Life of Islamic prophet Muhammad, who lived during the seventh Century, but Muslims believe the ritual of going to Mecca stretches back thousands of years to the time of Abraham.

    Haj is also the 5th pillar of Islam - a religious duty that must be carried out at least once during the lifetime of every able-bodied Muslim, and officially starts on November 15.