He said they stopped and talked to groups of pilgrims and the shepherds and locals along the way. Thankfully their "securing" was in presence only and pilgrims were able to pass through their area peacefully.
December 18, 2007 - December 21, 2007 Hajj (Annual Pilgrimage to Mecca) The Hajj, or annual pilgrimage to Mecca, consists of several ceremonies meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, such as submission, brotherhood, and unity, and to commemorate the trials of the Prophet Abraham and his family. Required once in a Muslim’s lifetime, over two million Muslims perform the pilgrimage annually.
(From Islamic Networks Group
It's amazing to watch my children finding their way. I have two other sons who are pacifist for religious reasons...needless to say, we often have interesting, lively conversations when they get together. The one in Iraq, volunteered to go (he was in the reserves and chose to activate) siting the treatment of Kurds in Iraq. My mother's family is Jewish and "ethnic cleansing" is an injustice he wanted to help combat. Of course, it is a complicated situation with no easy answers but it doesn't change the fact that he is doing what he thinks will combat evil in this world and I am very proud of him.