The ritual of the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca has many local Muslims celebrating here in Lansing.
For Muslims who could not make the pilgrimage to Mecca for Hajj, the Lansing Center served as their sanctuary for prayer. The spiritual journey cleanses the soul and wipes away sins.
But the recent heightened terror alert has Muslims once again feeling like targets. They say just like 9-11, the alert evokes feelings of stress. Muslims feel activities rather individuals should be the focus.
The crisis in Iraq has overshadowed this year's Hajj, with Muslim leaders canceling traditional receptions. Local Muslims say they believe their is a non-violent solution to the problem.
Hajj, which lasts for seven days, is one of the five pillars of Mecca. The prayer at the Lansing Center honored the sacrifice of Abraham's first son.
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- The Hajj, or pilgrimage to Makkah is a central duty of Islam whose origins date back to the time of Prophet Ibrahim
- Hajj is Islam's fifth principle
- It brings together Muslims of all races and tongues.
- The lexical meaning of hajj is 'to mean, to do, to wish.' In the Sharia it means to visit a certain place by doing certain things at a certain time.
- For 14 centuries, countless millions of Muslims, men and women from all over the world, have made the pilgrimage to Makkah, the birthplace of Islam.
- In carrying out this obligation, they fulfill one of the five "pillars" of Islam, or central religious duties of the believer.
Source: http://www.ummah.org.uk/hajj/ (Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha Web site) contributed to this report.