December 8, 2008
MINA, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Thousands of Muslim pilgrims massed in a valley near the Saudi holy city of Mina on Monday for the stoning of Satan, the last and most dangerous rite of the annual hajj.
Hundreds of people have been trampled to death in stampedes which have blighted several previous pilgrimages to Islam's holiest sites when the faithful rush to hurl stones at huge pillars symbolising the devil.
To complete the ritual, a pilgrim must throw 21 pebbles at each of three 25-metre (82-foot) pillars and this year the faithful are being given pebbles in pre-packed bags to spare them the effort of searching for the stones. Read more