Thousands of white-robed pilgrims threw pebbles at pillars Thursday, symbolically stoning the devil in an act of purification.
The stoning, which lasts several days, is one of the main rituals in the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Across the Muslim world, the faithful marked the first day of the Feast of Sacrifice, or Eid al-Adha, the most important holiday in the Islamic calendar.
Many Arabs marked the feast — a commemoration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son for God — with family lunches and visits to relatives' graves. (HoustonChronicle.com, 01/20/05.)
From the Jihad and Terrorism Studies Project (Iran's Political and Military Leadership Call for Martyrdom (Shahada)).
In a recent statement to the 8th Congress on Martyred Students, Iran's Leader Ali Khamenei praised the culture of shahada (committing martyrdom operations), and called upon students to follow the path of martyrs.
Speaking at a memorial service at the University of Qom, a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards general, Shabani, called for the training and education of students as martyrs. In his address, which dealt with means of resisting the enemy, Shabani also said that Iran is the third largest power in the region in ballistic missile production. (Memri.org, 01/20/05.)