Reduced pilgrim quota to stay until next year

Updated 16 July 2014
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Reduced pilgrim quota to stay until next year

Hatem Al-Qadi, spokesman for the Ministry of Haj said his ministry has decided to keep in place the reduction in the numbers of domestic and international pilgrims by 50 percent and 20 percent respectively.
He explained that the decision will continue to take effect owing to the huge expansion projects still under way in the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
“The decision was issued during the last meeting of the Ministry of Haj and aims to maintain the health and safety of pilgrims,” said Al-Qadi, adding that the ministry uses the data available to serve visitors and worshippers and make their journey enjoyable and memorable.
Al-Qadi confirmed that the number of pilgrims this year will be the same as in the last Haj season. “Last year, there were a total of 1,980, 249 pilgrims of which 1,379, 531 were from outside the Kingdom and 600,718 were domestic pilgrims,” he said.
He stressed that Saudi citizens and residents should adhere to the ministry’s decision of performing Haj once in five years.
He noted that the new expansions of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque are the largest in the history of the city. Such expansions will result in accommodating 2.2 million worshippers in the Grand Mosque, and will double the current capacity of the Mataf from 48 thousand worshippers an hour to more than 105 thousand.
“The expansions will also increase the capacity of the courtyards surrounding the Grand Mosque, and lessen the urban congestions around the area to the north, the west and northeast,” said Al-Qadi. Senior officials at the Ministry of Haj highlighted the royal decision to reduce the numbers of pilgrims in view of the capacity of the Mataf area during the expansion works.


‘Saudi Arabia’s stability, security a red line for Muslim world’

The Supreme Council of the Muslim World League (MWL) holds its 43rd session in Makkah. (SPA)
Updated 40 min 8 sec ago
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‘Saudi Arabia’s stability, security a red line for Muslim world’

  • The council praised the Kingdom’s pioneering role in the Muslim world, its religious importance, its history of supporting international security and peace efforts

JEDDAH: The Supreme Council of the Muslim World League (MWL) held its 43rd session in Makkah, with senior scholars and ministers from Muslim countries in attendance.
The council expressed solidarity with the Saudi leadership and people, and condemned attempts to target the Kingdom, saying its stability and security are a red line for the Muslim world.
The council praised the Kingdom’s pioneering role in the Muslim world, its religious importance, its history of supporting international security and peace efforts, and its fight against extremism and terrorism.
The great place that the Kingdom occupies in the hearts of Muslims is founded on a sincere and firm belief in its care for Muslim sanctity, the council said, adding that targeting Saudi stability also affects international stability.
The council discussed several matters, including the Palestinian cause, developments in Syria and Yemen, the tragedy of Myanmar’s Rohingya people, the fight against extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh, and the importance of promoting dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures.
It also discussed the well-being of Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries, expressing regret and concern about Islamophobia, and calling for peaceful coexistence.
The council urged Muslims in these countries to fulfil their duty to educate their children, and protect them from deviant ideologies and groups that use religion as a pretext to justify terrorism and extremism.
It also urged Muslims in these countries to use legitimate channels to enjoy their just religious and cultural rights, to contribute to societal development, and to support stability and integration.
The council highlighted the MWL’s efforts and international presence in influential platforms, especially in the West.
Islamophobia is creating serious rifts in multicultural societies and damaging the social contract based on equal citizenship, the council said.
It expressed its full support for the MWL’s programs and activities that highlight the truth about Islam and its values, promote intellectual and religious awareness among Muslim minorities, and spread the values of toleration, moderation and peace.
The council reviewed the MWL’s efforts against radicalization and terrorism, including international collaborative programs, conferences, forums, statements and visits to Muslim and non-Muslim countries.
It noted the MWL’s efforts to promote dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures, including its secretary-general’s meeting with Vatican leaders, the signing of a historic cooperation agreement with the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue, and organizing an international peace conference at Oxford University.
The council agreed to establish an international center for cultural exchanges, as part of its support for the Conference on Cultural Rapprochement between the US and the Muslim World.
The council stressed the importance of building good East-West relations and launching initiatives to foster cooperation, cultural exchanges and positive values.
“Only 10 percent of our common principles are sufficient to bring peace and harmony to our world,” said MWL Secretary-General Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa.