She is getting ready, with 2 million others, for a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual journey.
Sandra Manboard is headed for Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the hajj, the pilgrimage Muslims are expected to make at least once in their lives if they are healthy.
She leaves Dec. 3 on the three-week journey. . .
The pilgrims camp together and pray together. The spirit of camaraderie stays with them for a lifetime, said Altaf Ali, Florida director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, based in Pembroke Pines.
"It removes all your misconceptions and stereotypes," said Ali, who expects about 400 South Florida Muslims to go on the hajj. "We see we're not so different from people all over the world." . . .
In Tampa last year, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) officials arranged a meeting with airport officials to tell them what they can expect from Muslims returning from the hajj. For example, men shave their heads before the pilgrimage, so their appearances may be different from their passport photos when they return.
CAIR may issue a travel advisory in the coming weeks to make sure airport officials nationwide understand 10,000 American Muslims will be returning to the United States, CAIR national spokeswoman Amina Rubin said. (MORE)