Friday, 21 December, 2007
By: Adel Al-Malki
Mina- A year after Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was executed in Baghdad, many Iraqi pilgrims say they are more optimistic about the future of their country.
Husain Abdul Ameer, 56, said it was time to build a new Iraq through solidarity among its people.
"The Iraqi people have closed that page in our history" he said. "Our country needs to end conflict among its sons. We need to send the message to the world that the Iraqis are one people."
Abdul Ameer, another pilgrim from Iraq, used Haj to draw parallel with the situation in Iraq today. After the stoning ritual, the Iraqi pilgrims walked in one line toward their camps while chanting the same words he said.
"The dark age of Iraq died with Saddam" he said.
Tae'i Waliullah, 56, from Kurdistan, said violence in Iraq is limited to areas such as Al-Dorah and Al-Sediah. "The rest of Iraq is peaceful" he said.
Some of the pilgrims talked about recent events in Iraq involving a plan to divide the country in order to incite a civil war.
"There are people who target mosques in Iraq to incite sectarianism. Many Iraqis, however, realize that these are but covert forces out to destroy Iraq" said Kazim Al-Dori.
Sabri Al-Awi, 60, called on King Abdullah to stand by Iraq and support efforts toward its improvement.