Sunday, December 31, 2006
Stoning the devil
I'm here with Adil and Khadija at the Jamarat Bridge -- currently watching the pilgrims stone the devil. Approximately 200,000 people pass through here every hour. It's completely overwhelming -- the constant stream of pebbles being thrown and making contact sounds like a severe hail storm. It's amazing to watch the security forces attempt to control the flow of this crowd. So far, and by all accounts here, they're doing an exemplary job.

The team is constantly getting stopped -- if not by security personnel requesting to see our press badges and filming permits, then by enthusiastic pilgrims asking to get their pictures taken. I just had a delightful discussion (something that's pretty hard to do when you're being pushed along with the crowd) with a 26-year-old Yemeni named Ahmed, who was extremely happy to encounter CNN here covering the Hajj.

In addition to the security forces that have been dispatched all throughout the area (approximately 15,000,) we are surrounded on all sides by ambulances ready to treat any pilgrim who falls ill. Even up here, on the first level of Jamarat Bridge, there are on-site clinics.
For non-Muslims watching the Hajj from afar, it is really refreshing to read the personal accounts of the team on the ground. You are communicating everything from the sacred to the mundane! Keep up the tireless work Mohammed!
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