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February 14, 2003

Muslim pilgrims celebrate bin Laden

Nothing like a pilgrimage to renew your faith in bin Ladin
[...] With the bulk of the two million worshippers spending their time in holy shrines and away from the media, many pilgrims said they had not heard the audio recording he reportedly made which Qatar's al Jazeera television broadcast on Tuesday.

Nonetheless, some pilgrims urged the fugitive al Qaeda leader to maintain his armed struggle against what they called infidel nations such as the United States.

"I am very happy he is alive because he has made a lot of sacrifices for God and Muslims," said Abdulrahman, a young Egyptian, as he angrily threw stones at a pillar representing the devil -- one of the rituals of the pilgrimage.

"May God help him in his struggle against the infidels until total victory."

Practically all pilgrims approached by Reuters supported bin Laden. [more]