Enthusiasts Saudi Arabia allows a million Muslim pilgrims to Mecca

17:15  09 april  2022
17:15  09 april  2022 Source:   lepoint.fr

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The Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday that it would allow a million Muslims from around the world to participate in the great annual pilgrimage to Mecca , opening up those who come from abroad for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic of Covid-19.

The Ministry of Hajj, a large annual pilgrimage to Mecca, "authorized one million pilgrims, foreigners or nationals, to accomplish the Hajj this year," he announced in a statement.

The government wants to ensure the safety of pilgrims "while ensuring that a maximum of Muslims in the world can accomplish Hajj," the statement continues.

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The big pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be accomplished by all Muslims who have the means at least once in their lives. It usually figure among the world's largest religious gatherings - about 2.5 million people in 2019.

After the start of the pandemic, the Saudi authorities allowed only 1,000 pilgrims in 2020, and 60,000 residents the following year, All vaccinated against coronavirus and chosen by drawing.

The lifting of these restrictions sparked joy among the faithful in the world.

"We were very sad in the last two years to see as little pilgrims in Mecca. I am extremely happy to know that things will come back to normal," said

AFP Mohamed Tamer, an Egyptian 36 years.

This resident of Cairo hopes to be able to participate this year, but he said to fear "an exaggerated rise in prices" that would prevent it.

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The Hajj consists of a series of religious rites made for five days in the most sacred city of Islam, Mecca, and in the surrounding areas of Western Saudi Arabia.

An economical boon

The reception of Hajj is a question of prestige for Saudi leaders, the responsibility of the most sacred sites of Islam contributing to their political legitimacy.

It is also an essential source of revenue. In normal times, the two main Muslim pilgrimages, Hajj and the Uumra, report some $ 12 billion (10.2 billion euros) per year to Saudi Arabia, which tries to diversify its ultra-dependent oil economy.

They represent a boon for airlines and travel agencies.

hairdressers, tour operators or souvenir sellers ... In Mecca, these are hundreds of thousands of jobs that have suffered from the pandemic.

Last August, the Kingdom had reopened its borders to foreign pilgrims wishing to participate in the small pilgrimage, the Uumra, which contrary to the Hajj can be done throughout the year.

This year's Hajj will be limited to vaccinated pilgrims under the age of 65, according to the Saudi authorities.

Travelers from outside Saudi Arabia will have to present a negative PCR test of less than 72 hours.

The kingdom of about 34 million has recorded more than 751,000 cases of coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic and 9.055 death, according to the data of the

Ministry of Health .

In early March, he announced the lifting of most COVID restrictions, including social distancing in public places and quarantine for vaccinated arrivals, while masks are now mandatory only in closed places.

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