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Preparations for Hajj continue in Saudi Arabia – with measures both great:

On Sunday, security forces sent a clear message to would-be saboteurs by staging a huge military demonstration involving thousands of troops, armored vehicles, helicopters, and first response teams. The Saudi government has announced it will deploy more than 100,000 security and emergency personnel for hajj, which will last from Wednesday to Sunday.

and small:

During this year’s Haj, the government will distribute millions of bags of sterilized small stones to all pilgrims as part of the ritual stoning at the Jamarat.

The plan has been initiated by King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, who believes that this will ease the Haj for pilgrims and help to contain the spread of swine flu.

Meanwhile, the pilgrims’ preparations are of a more spiritual nature. There’s a wonderful new gallery about Life Lessons from Hajj by Dilshad Ali that is a great read and inspiration, culled from her own recollections of performing Hajj five years ago. Check it out!

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