Hajj pilgrimage is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings but this year only up to 10,000 people already residing in the kingdom will participate in the ritual as the Saudi hosts try to prevent the spread of virus pandemic.
Around a 1,000 people will perform the annual Islamic rite this year due to restrictions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Any loss of revenue from Hajj and Umrah, estimated at $12 billion annually, will put further strain on the Kingdom.
Spain’s former monarch, King Juan Carlos I, a transformative political figure, might have received illicit money from Saudi royals for a rail project.
The holiest month in Islam is also when traders make money. This year could be very difficult for them and Muslim countries.
As Hajj pilgrimage is under risk of cancellation for this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, people ask: is it the first lockdown in history?
As millions of Muslims start preparing for this year’s annual Hajj pilgrimage, Saudi authorities ask followers to delay bookings in light of the ongoing global pandemic.
The kingdom closed off the holy cities of Mecca and Medina to foreigners over the coronavirus fears, a step which wasn’t taken even during the 1918 flu epidemic that killed tens of millions worldwide.
Saudi decision alone disrupted travel for thousands of Muslims already headed to the Kingdom and potentially affects plans later this year for millions more ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan and the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
The extraordinary decision by Saudi Arabia stops foreigners from reaching the holy city of Mecca and the Kaaba. Meanwhile, Iran says its Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar tested positive for coronavirus.
The decision to suspend entry for foreign pilgrims in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak could hurt Saudi finances if it is a prolonged ban.
The custodians of Islam’s two holiest sites have conveniently distanced themselves from many issues affecting Muslims.
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