American Muslims on the Hajj, 2002

March 8, 2002

Source: The New York Times

On March 8, 2002, The New York Times reported that in Dearborn, Michigan, "people have been returning from the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are expected to make at least once in their lives... most Muslims from Dearborn who went to Mecca did so for personal and spiritual reasons, not political ones... [But] they have also come home with a sense of uncertainty. While many of those who made the pilgrimage this year left Islam's holiest sites feeling renewed in their faith, many also left disturbed by the growing gap between the Muslim world and the American world... The distance between the two cultures was felt keenly, pilgrims said, when Muslims from other countries chanted 'Death to Israel' and 'Death to America' during a ritual stoning of the devil that is part of the pilgrimage... 'I heard these chants and knew the people who were doing it did not understand what they were doing,' said Hassan Sobh, 28, who led a group of 75 pilgrims from Dearborn. 'They saw others shout these things and did the same. It showed that their political and religious knowledge was low'... An estimated 10,000 American Muslims made the pilgrimage to Mecca this year, according to leaders of groups that are known as caravans, about the same number as over the past few years."