National Geographic : 1966 Jan
souvenirs. Some pilgrims were selling car pets (two are allowed duty free) for expenses. Hotels and pensions were full to the roof tops. Special new barracks built by the Min istry of Pilgrimage along the waterfront and at the airport helped absorb the overflow. Thousands slept under buses in the park, or on the streets. I had encountered the religion of Islam be fore, in the deserts of Iran, in the mountains of Yemen, along the coast of Turkey, and was impressed by its message.* It includes much that is familiar to us in the Old Testament 40 and the New, and adds much. True, its rites are colored by the harsh desert life that nour ished it. So, too, is its majestic simplicity. But in its essence Islam never veers from the one ness of God. To the Moslem mind, Mohammed was God's messenger-no more than that-as were Jesus and Abraham before him. A trip to the qaadi, or religious magistrate, in Jidda to file my petition of intention, a note scribbled under the Saudi visa in my passport * The author described his travels "Behind the Veil of Troubled Yemen," in the March, 1964, GEOGRAPHIC.