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Amid Health Crisis, Saudi Arabia Urges Muslims to Delay Hajj Preparations
Muslim pilgrims pray near the Islam's holiest shrine, the Kaaba, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy Muslim city of Mecca. (Mohammed Al-Shaikh/AFP/Getty Images)

Amid Health Crisis, Saudi Arabia Urges Muslims to Delay Hajj Preparations

Saudi Arabia has called on Muslims everywhere to temporarily delay preparations for the annual hajj pilgrimage due to the coronavirus crisis. It comes after Riyadh last month took the unprecedented step of suspending year-round umrah visits to Islam’s two holiest sites, including Mecca’s Kaaba, a cube-shaped structure toward which nearly 2 billion Muslims worldwide pray five times each day. “As we are talking about a global pandemic… the kingdom is keen to protect the health of Muslims and citizens, so we have asked our brothers in all countries to wait before doing [hajj] contracts until the situation is clear,” a senior Saudi minister was quoted as saying. The House of Saud has not yet determined whether to proceed with this year’s hajj, which is scheduled for the end of July. The 2019 pilgrimage attracted 2.5 million people and is considered a crucial revenue source for the Sunni Gulf state. As of Tuesday, Saudi Arabia had reported more than 1,500 coronavirus infections and 10 deaths. Some 70,000 cases have been confirmed in the Middle East.

Give the Gift of Truth This Jewish New Year

The Media Line has been leading for more than twenty years in pioneering the American independent news agency in the Middle East, arguably the first in the region. We have always stayed true to our mission: to provide you with contextual sourced and trustworthy news. In an age of fake news masquerading as journalism, The Media Line plays a crucial role in providing fact-based news that deserves your support.

We're proud of the dozens of young students we've trained in our Press and Policy Student Program who will form the vanguard of the next generation of journalists to the benefit of countless millions of news readers.

Non-profit news needs public support. please help us with your generous contributions.
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