clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:


Two million Moslem pilgrims in traditional white prayer garments peacefully worshiped at Mecca Saturday, ignoring calls by Iran for massive demonstrations, Saudi radio and television reported.

At the annual haj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, last year thousands of Moslem pilgrims answered a call by Iranian Spritual Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni for pro-Tehran demonstrations, sparking rioting in which more than 400 people, mostly Iranians, died in clashes with Saudi security forces.State-run radio and television reports from the Saudi capital of Riyadh said pilgrims from around the globe trekked across burning sand to the Mount Arafat site near Mecca where the Prophet Mohammad is said to have given his last sermon in the 7th century.

The reports, monitored in Cairo, Beirut and Bahrain, said the events went "smoothly" as the pilgrims toured Mount Arafat, where the temperature soared to 111 Saturday, the third day of the rites.

A practicing Moslem is expected to perform the haj pilgrimage at least once in his or her lifetime.

This year, Iran officially sent no pilgrims to Mecca, protesting a Saudi ruling that allowed it a quota of only 45,000 persons, as against 150,000 last year.

But days before the rites, Khomeini again called on Moslems from all parts of the globe to assert their "right" to demonstrate in Mecca.

A spokesman in Riyadh dismissed reports on Tehran radio that demonstrations occurred Friday at the Grand Mosque.