Mere Anglicanism

Hajj begins

Saudi government expects two million Muslim pilgrims to converge on Mecca this week

Saudia Arabia reports that it is expecting 2 million pilgrims from across the world to participate in this year’s Hajj, which runs from August 19 to 24. The Saudi government reports that is army is on high alert to ward off potential terror attacks and sectarian strife.

This year’s hajj will see the return of Iranian Shi’ites. In 2015 Iran’s government banned its citizens from attending the hajj after a stampede in Mecca left several hundred pilgrims dead. Past hajj’s have seen clashes between Sunni and Shia pilgrims, which security analysts believe were fulminated by Iran in order to de-stablize the Saudi regime.

The Saudi government reported that 1.6 million pilgrims had arrived from abroad as of August 16. The government press handout reported the Kingdom had launched a “smart hajj” initiative, with smartphone apps to assist pilgrims on religious, tourist and social issues.

The Hajj, the Arabic word for pilgrimage, is a mandatory religious obligation for Muslims that takes place every year from the 8th to the 12th of Du al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar. At least once in their lifetimes, a Muslim is expected to make the pilgrimage to Mecca and perform the religious observances set forth by Islamic custom and tradition.

 
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