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Saudi Arabia Turns Back 300,000 Unregistered Pilgrims Ahead of Annual Hajj

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Saudi Arabia's security forces have turned back over 300,000 unregistered pilgrims to ensure safety and proper crowd management ahead of this year's Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

Saudi Arabia Turns Back 300,000 Unregistered Pilgrims Before Hajj

Saudi Arabia announced that its security forces have turned back more than 300,000 unregistered pilgrims intending to participate in the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. The announcement came one week before the start of the religious event. Crowd management at this large gathering has proven perilous in the past, notably in 2015, when a stampede tragically left around 2,300 dead.

Among those turned back by authorities are 153,998 foreigners who entered the kingdom with tourist visas instead of the specific authorizations granted to their respective countries on the basis of quotas, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA). Additionally, Saudi authorities intercepted 171,587 residents who did not possess the necessary authorization for the Hajj.

Rising Number of Pilgrims and Religious Significance

Last year, more than 1.8 million Muslims participated in the pilgrimage, according to official figures. Since the previous Saturday, more than 1.3 million registered pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia, as per the latest reports from authorities. The Hajj, which begins on June 14, is one of the five pillars of Islam and is mandatory for all Muslims who can afford the journey at least once in their lifetime.

Economic and Cultural Impact

Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest shrines located in Mecca and Medina, derives billions of dollars annually from the Hajj and other pilgrimages, commonly referred to as Umrah, conducted throughout the year. Pilgrimages also confer significant prestige upon the Saudi monarch, whose official title includes that of ‘Guardian of the Two Holy Mosques’ of Mecca and Medina.

  • The recent evasive measures by Saudi authorities highlight the critical need for stringent regulation and crowd management during the Hajj.
  • The significant number of unregistered pilgrims turned away underscores the challenges associated with accommodating an ever-increasing number of participants in the annual pilgrimage.
  • Ensuring the safety and security of millions of pilgrims remains a paramount concern for Saudi Arabia, given the logistical complexities of managing such a massive event.
Clam Reports
Refs: | Le Figaro | Le Parisien |

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