Today is the beginning of the Hajj, an annual event in which Muslims must trample each other running figure eights around a big black cube which contains a rock inside a bedpan.
Oh, and it's fresh and yummy rock, too:
Touching or kissing the Black Stone has a profound impact on the faithful as it is suppose to count in their favor on judgment day. The great Muslim traveler from Valencia, Ibn Jubayr (1145 - 1217) describes the emotion he felt on touching the stone; The stone, when one kisses it, has a softness and freshness which delights the mouth, so much so that he who places his lips upon it wishes never to remove them. It suffices, moreover, that the Prophet said that it is the Right Hand of God on Earth.
Amazing. It's a bit like those folks that see the Virgin Mary in their toast, except Islamists built a palace around theirs.
In any case, I am of the opinion that Mohammad mandated the trip to Mecca as a tourist revenue scheme, making it mandatory for the 'faithful' and reinforcing it by having them pray towards it five times a day.
But now the 'faithful' Muslim has more to worry about than the cost of getting to Mecca... What happens if he gets the swine flu while he's there?
I. Shit. You. Not.
From this source:
Now there's a pickle, eh?
I think it's hilarious that Muslims are getting swine flue vaccines so they can go to Hajj. I wonder if the pilgrimage makes up for that, or do they have to kill a few extra infidels or Jews to make up for that one?