Monday, December 10, 2007


According to The Middle East News Source, "some 4,500 Muslims have departed for Mecca from their homes in Israel, a Jewish country with no diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia." - Israelis Embark on Journey to Mecca.

"Sheikh ‘Ali Bakr, 47, an imam from northern Israel who works for the Israeli Interior Ministry, has been to Saudi Arabia 24 times on pilgrimages. Bakr does not feel a contradiction in holding Israeli citizenship and attending the Hajj.

'On the contrary, I feel we're a bridge between Israel and the Arab countries. We can bring people closer together,' he says. 'Some think that Israeli Arabs are neglected and underprivileged, so we tell them that’s not the case, that we live here as equal citizens and that we fit well into the Jewish social fabric.'"

It's a nice touch for people such as these to be able to practice such an important aspect of their religious observance even if they must do so by heading for Mecca as Jordanian nationals. Perhaps one day, the spirit of Annapolis might spread to the point where the Saudis become even more enlightened and accept these people for what they really are - Israelis!

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