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More than two million Muslims begin Hajj pilgrimage

Muslim pilgrims walk in a street in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca, on August 18, 2018, ahead of the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (Photo by AFP)

More than two million Muslims from around the globe have converged in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia to start this year’s Hajj pilgrimage.

The annual Hajj pilgrimage started on Sunday.

The gathering in one place of Muslims from across the globe is seen as a means of sending across the message of Muslim unity to the entire world.

“It’s the dream of every Muslim to come here to Mecca,” Frenchman Soliman Ben Mohri, a 53-year-old Muslim, said. “It’s the ultimate journey.”

Each and every able-bodied Muslim, male or female, is required to complete the Hajj pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime if they also have the sufficient financial capacity to do so.

Muslim worshipers circumambulate around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca, on August 17, 2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city. (Photo by AFP)

Most of the pilgrims began moving on Sunday from Mecca to the nearby Mina, where they will spend the night in fire-resistant tents.

Thousands of buses and vehicles carrying the pilgrims lined the eight-kilometer road from Mecca to Mina. Many pilgrims made the journey walking under the scorching heat of the sun.

A tragic human crush during the Hajj rituals in 2015 killed thousands of pilgrims in Mina.

Saudi authorities gave an initial tally of 770 deaths and then stopped updating that figure, even as official counts from individual countries whose nationals had died in the incident rose to the thousands in total.


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