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Ensuring safety: Saudi Forces reject unauthorized pilgrims from Mecca

1 min

Saudi Arabia's security forces have turned back more than 300,000 unregistered pilgrims from Mecca, just a week before the annual Hajj pilgrimage is set to begin.

According to official figures, over 1.8 million Muslims participated in the Hajj last year. © Mena Today 

Saudi Arabia's security forces have turned back more than 300,000 unregistered pilgrims from Mecca, just a week before the annual Hajj pilgrimage is set to begin. 

This move aims to ensure the safety and order of the massive gathering, which has posed significant crowd management challenges in the past.

The management of such a large assembly has proven perilous, notably in 2015 when a stampede resulted in approximately 2,300 deaths. To prevent such tragedies, Saudi authorities have intensified their efforts to enforce strict entry regulations.

Among those turned away were 153,998 foreign nationals who obtained tourist visas instead of the special permits allocated by Saudi Arabia based on international quotas. 

Additionally, 171,587 residents of the kingdom without Hajj permits were also intercepted. These measures highlight the kingdom's stringent approach to controlling the flow of pilgrims and maintaining order during the pilgrimage.

According to official figures, over 1.8 million Muslims participated in the Hajj last year. 

Since last Saturday, more than 1.3 million registered pilgrims have already arrived in Saudi Arabia for this year’s pilgrimage, which begins on June 14. The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims who can afford it.

Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, generates billions of dollars annually from the Hajj and other pilgrimages known as Umrah, undertaken at various times of the year. 

These pilgrimages not only contribute to the kingdom’s economy but also enhance the prestige of the Saudi monarch, whose official title includes "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" in Mecca and Medina.

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