Saudi Arabia: Mufti urges Muslims to oppose terrorism

Mecca, 26 Nov. (AKI) - A key Islamic leader on Thursday urged Muslims to fight terrorism and oppose suicide attacks. In a sermon to mark the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia known as the Hajj, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al Sheikh said the world was facing challenges related to terrorism and efforts were being made to destroy young Muslims.

In a sermon delivered at Arafat, he said the world knew more about Islam today than ever before and some people were trying to create misconceptions and doubts about the religion.

An estimated three million pilgrims from all around the world were gathering on the plains of Arafat for the annual pilgrimage.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz said that Islam was a religion of peace that opposed terrorism and he urged young Muslims to remain cautious.

As pilgrims began gathering before dawn on Thursday, there were reports that about 50 people had been killed in flood waters in the country's west.

A downpour hit Mecca province and the port city of Jeddah and pilgrims were forced to seek shelter under bridges and in their cars until heavy rain stopped in several areas.

Pilgrims were expected to spend Thursday at Arafat chanting: "Here I am in answer to Thy call, Lord, here I am. There is no other God but Thee. Praise be unto Thee."

The Saudi government has set up three clinics in a bid to counter any outbreak of the H1N1 virus known as swine flu and the threat does not appear to have deterred pilgrims.

Saudi authorities advised people aged over 65 and under 12, and those with chronic diseases, not to attend the event this year.


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