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350,000 less foreign pilgrims on Haj this year
Sunday October 13, 2013 8:10 PM, IINA

About 1.4 million foreign pilgrims from over 150 countries from around the world have arrived to perform Haj this year. This figure is 20 percent less comparing to last year when more than 1.7 million foreign pilgrims came to perform Haj.

The foreign pilgrims will be joined by more than half a million domestic pilgrims, including Saudis and expatriates.

All Muslims are required to perform Haj at least once in their lifetimes if they have the means to do so.

The decrease of foreign pilgrims was due to a 20 percent cut in their quota this year. The number of domestic pilgrims has also been slashed by 50 percent.

The Saudi authorities have made this arrangement due to space constraint in the wake of the ongoing expansion works of the Haram Mosque and the mataf (area for circumambulation around the Holy Kaaba).

Several foreign leaders have arrived for Haj this year. They included Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain, Kazakhstan Presidential Standard. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Sudan Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir, President Mohammed wild Abdulaziz of Mauritania, India's Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad and Bangladesh Supreme Court Chief Justice Md. Muzammel Hossain.


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