MOUNT ARAFAT, Saudi Arabia - Millions of Muslims marked the zenith of the annual hajj yesterday, praying for God's forgiveness on a rocky desert hill here where in Muslim tradition Adam and Eve were reunited after leaving Eden.
The ritual of standing at Mount Rahma is the most spiritual moment of the pilgrimage, when Muslims believe God will grant whatever prayers they make.
Among the faithful this year is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who yesterday stopped by the vast tent city where pilgrims are housed on the plateau called Mount Arafat to visit with Iranians there, Tehran's state broadcasting company.
However, Ahmadinejad stayed away from a brief rally held by several hundred Iranian pilgrims, calling on Muslims to unite against the U.S. and Israel, which they said "dominate the Muslim world."
The rally is an annual occurrence at hajj, arranged by the Iranian government. An envoy read a statement from Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the faithful, telling them that hajj requires them to show love for God and to "expel, fight and stand up to Satan" - lessons Muslims "have to learn all over the world." *