Nearly 4m performed hajj this year, says Saudi

Senior official says up to 1.4m who travelled to holy city during hajj season did so illegally
Nearly 4m performed hajj this year, says Saudi
A muslim pilgrim throws pebbles at pillars during the Jamarat ritual, the stoning of Satan, in Mina near the holy city of Mecca (AFP/Getty Images).
By Staff writer
Mon 29 Oct 2012 09:47 AM

Almost 4m performed the hajj Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah this year, according to a senior official in the Saudi Arabian holy city.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Makkah governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal described this year’s pilgrimage as “a resounding success”.

The 4m figure included both Saudi Arabian and foreign worshippers, with the latter accounting for the vast majority of pilgrims.

“Islam is a religion of moderation and service to humanity. It is a religion of peace and love and calls for peaceful coexistence with others,” Al-Faisal was quoted as saying. “Unfortunately only negative things about Islam and Muslims are highlighted by the media.”

Al-Faisal added however that up to 1.4m of the 4m pilgrims were undocumented and had performed the ritual illegally.

He said that the holy city was implementing various projects in a bid to curb the number of people, mostly from overseas, who undertake hajj unlawfully. These will include constructing a wall around Makkah’s holy sites.

Authorities in Makkah are also developing the city’s transport infrastructure, including the addition of a metro rail network, and expanding the capacity of the Grand Mosque to allow for more pilgrims during the hajj season.

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