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San Antonio Muslims Mark End Of The Hajj

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Sarwat Husain
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While American Catholics are celebrating the Pope’s visit to the United States, American Muslims in San Antonio are marking the end of the Hajj with prayers and celebrations.

The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca which every adult Muslim is supposed to make at least once in his or her lifetime if physically and financially able.  This is the fifth of the five pillars of Islam.  “This is a sort of reenacting the time of the Prophet Abraham when he was asked to slaughter his son,” according to Sarwat Husain, president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in San Antonio. “Satan was trying to talk Abraham out of it, so he started throwing those stones on the devil,” she said.

Husain, who is originally from Pakistan, has done the pilgrimage to Mecca twice.  “Oh, it’s a beautiful experience, because it is a gathering of people from all over the world, different languages, different countries, different cultures,” Husain said.  “They all look the same.  Men are wearing two-piece costumes, wrapped in white.  You cannot differentiate between a king and a janitor,” she said.

Husain regrets that the Hajj was marred by a crane accident a couple of weeks ago that killed more than 100 people in Mecca and Thursday’s stampede which left hundreds more people dead.  San Antonio Muslims marked the end of the Hajj with prayers and celebrations at area mosques and some public facilities designed to accommodate large gatherings.