Saudi clears Mecca of over 300,000 unregistered pilgrims forward of hajj

Saudi clears Mecca of over 300,000 unregistered pilgrims forward of hajj
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Arriving Muslim pilgrims stroll on the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy metropolis of Mecca on June 4, 2024 forward of the annual hajj pilgrimage. (Picture by Abdel Ghani BASHIR / AFP)

Saudi Arabia mentioned on Saturday that safety forces had cleared a whole lot of hundreds of unregistered pilgrims from Mecca forward of the hajj which begins subsequent week.

Crowd administration is a significant concern in the course of the annual pilgrimage, one of many 5 pillars of Islam which drew greater than 1.8 million Muslims final 12 months, in keeping with official figures.

These turned away in current days from the holy metropolis, residence to the Grand Mosque, embrace 153,998 foreigners who travelled from overseas on vacationer visas reasonably than the required hajj visas, the official Saudi Press Company mentioned.

As well as, Saudi authorities have rounded up 171,587 others who’re based mostly in Saudi Arabia however usually are not residents of Mecca and didn’t have hajj permits, SPA mentioned.

The hajj, which begins on June 14, should be undertaken at the least as soon as by all Muslims with the means.

It includes a sequence of rituals accomplished over at the least 4 days in Mecca and its environment within the west of Saudi Arabia.

Many search to finish the rites by means of unofficial channels as acquiring formal permits and journey packages might be extraordinarily expensive, with restricted quotas for pilgrims from every nation.

Saudi Arabia is residence to the holiest shrines in Islam at Mecca and Medina, and the Gulf kingdom makes billions of {dollars} every year from the hajj and from pilgrimages, generally known as umrah, undertaken at different instances of the 12 months.

The pilgrimages are additionally a supply of status for the Saudi monarch whose official title consists of “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” in Mecca and Medina.

Massive crowds have proved hazardous previously in the course of the hajj, most just lately in 2015 when a stampede in the course of the “stoning the satan” ritual in Mina, close to Mecca, killed as much as 2,300 folks within the deadliest-ever hajj catastrophe.

Fears of a repeat have spurred Saudi officers to crack down on off-the-books pilgrims.

Greater than 1.3 million registered pilgrims had arrived in Saudi Arabia for the hajj as of Saturday, Mecca regional authorities mentioned on X.

AFP

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