King Khaled of Saudi Arabia kissed the Black Stone in the courtyard of the great Mosque in Mecca on Sunday, (28 November) as did many foreign dignitaries attending the year's annual Islamic pilgrimage, in the twelfth month of the Moslem lunar calendar.
GV People walking around the Ka'bah in Great Mosque, Mecca
MVs Gambia's President Sir Daudi Jawara with others walking around Ka'bah (2 shots)
MV President Mokhtar Ould Daddah of Mauritania with crowd around Ka'bah
MV President Ja'afar al Nimeiry of Sudan seated
MVs Presidents Jawara and Ould Daddah with crowd around Ka'bah (2 shots)
MV People kissing the Black Stone
MVs Saudi Arabian King Khaled with security forces walking around Ka'bah (2 shots)
MVs King Khaled kisses the Black Stone and walks around Ka'bah (3 shots)
MV King Khaled enters Ka'bah PAN TO rug
MV King Khaled leaving
MV President Jawara leaving
MVs King Khaled leaves in car (2 shots)
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Background: King Khaled of Saudi Arabia kissed the Black Stone in the courtyard of the great Mosque in Mecca on Sunday, (28 November) as did many foreign dignitaries attending the year's annual Islamic pilgrimage, in the twelfth month of the Moslem lunar calendar.
SYNOPSIS: Every adult Moslem must make the pilgrimage to Mecca -- the birthplace of the prophet Mohammed -- at least once in a lifetime. Gambia's President Sir Daudi Jawara was one of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims this year, as was President Mokhtar Ould Daddah of Mauritania.
President Ja'afar al Nimeiry of Sudan also attended.
Every Moslem who makes the obligatory pilgrimage is required to walk seven times around the Ka'bah -- the small shrine located near the centre of the Great Mosque.
King Khaled arriving for the ceremony. Moslems everywhere consider the Ka'bah to be the most sacred sport on earth, and turn towards it for their daily prayers. Located in the base of the Ka'bah is the Black Stone. It is customary to kiss and touch the Stone and forgiveness of sins is believed to come to all who do so. They are said to have received the gift of "Heavenly Delight".
In his message for the occasion, King Khaled called upon the pilgrims at Mecca and Moslems throughout the world to join in ridding the world of misery which afflicts it -- and to help make it a better place. Estimates of the number of people attending this year's pilgrimage range up to two million. King Khaled's government has spent more than GBP 1,000 million sterling (1,500 million US dollars) on improving facilities at the crowded pilgrimage areas.