Iranians who gathered in Islam’s holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia over the weekend for the annual hajj pilgrimage called for Israel’s destruction and chanted “Death to America.”
Every year, millions of Muslims make the annual religious pilgrimage to Mecca, which began Friday.
At a “disavowal of polytheists” ceremony in Mecca, the reading of a message from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reportedly prompted a crowd of Iranian hajj pilgrims to chant, “Death to America! Death to Israel! … America is the enemy of Allah! Israel is the enemy of Allah [and] should be erased from the face of the Earth!”
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported the chants at the ceremony held at Mecca’s Mount Arafat, citing a translation of a segment of the ceremony aired by Iran’s IRINN TV station on Saturday.
According to MEMRI’s translation of the ceremony segment, an IRINN TV anchor declared, “The cries of ‘Death to America!’ and “Death to Israel!” reverberated at the ‘disavowal of the polytheists’ ceremony held at the plain of Arafat [in Mecca].”
“This is the cry of the Islamic nation against the child-killing Zionist regime and its supporter, the global arrogance. It is shouted from the plain of Arafat,” a reporter from the Iranian TV station added, referring to the chants.
The annual five-day pilgrimage to Mecca is a once-in-a-lifetime requirement for all Muslims who are physically and financially capable of making the journey. It is considered one of the five pillars of Islam.
“We have come here by the order of the Leader in order to say ‘Death to America!’ and ‘Death to Israel!’ The pilgrimage is not just religious. It is both religious and political. I will sacrifice my life for the Leader,” MEMRI quoted an unnamed Iranian young boy who attended the ceremony as saying.
“This is one of the foundations of our religion – expressing our allegiance, as well as our disavowal and aversion towards all our enemies. Ultimately, we must come here and shout our slogans in order to let the enemy know of our aversion towards it,” a female attendee reportedly added.
During the ceremony, Ghorbanali Dorri-Nafajabadi, a member of Iran’s powerful Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts, demanded “obedience” to the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader while urging Iranians to stand against “polytheism.”
“All the supporters of the front of truth must stand united under the banner of monotheism, of unity, and of obedience to the Leader against the front of heresy, polytheism, hypocrisy, Zionism, arrogance, and reactionism,” the Iranian official proclaimed. “This is the meaning of the disavowal ceremony.”
Both Judaism, the main religion in Israel, and Christianity, the most prominent faith in the United States, are monotheistic.