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Ex-French Footballer Anelka to Asharq Al-Awsat: I Came to Makkah in Search of Spirituality

Ex-French Footballer Anelka to Asharq Al-Awsat: I Came to Makkah in Search of Spirituality

Friday, 24 August, 2018 - 06:30
Former French footballer Nicolas Anelka in Saudi Arabia.
Makkah – Mohammed al-Ayedh
Former French international footballer Nicolas Anelka expressed on Thursday his great joy at seeing the major development of the holy sites in Makkah, while also underlining the importance of the Hajj pilgrimage for him as a Muslim and Muslims all over the world.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat from Makkah: “I came to these holy places in search of spirituality.”

Asked about his encounters with some of his fans while he was performing the Hajj, he replied: “Some may see me as a football star, but I am just a normal person.”

On his stay in Makkah and Medina, he said: “These are special feelings that cannot be put into words, especially since performing the Hajj is demanded of every Muslim once in their lifetime.”

“These are sentiments that can only be felt at the holy sites,” he stressed.

Commenting on the advancement of the services and upgrade of infrastructure at the holy cities, he predicted that more pilgrims will visit the holy city in the future.

Anelka stated that the services provided by the Saudi government “were not at all easy to achieve.”

“Managing huge crowds and spending billions of dollars on several services requires massive effort,” he added.

He said that this was second visit to Saudi Arabia. The first was 15 years ago and he noted the spectacular development that has taken place during that time.

Commenting on the expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah and Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, he remarked that the great number of Muslims in the world demanded that these two sites be expanded.

This will help them in their worship, he said.

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