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Hajj 2023: Sudanese pilgrims denied by ongoing war

Muslim worshippers and pilgrims gather around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca on June 22, 2023.   -  
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Saudi Arabia

Muslim pilgrims streamed into the holy city of Mecca on Friday ahead of the start of Hajj.

Over two million people from 160 countries are expected to gather in the historic city, according to Saudi authorities.

This hajj will be the biggest since the requirement for women to be accompanied by male guardians was dropped in 2021.

But with the raging war in Sudan, only a small part of the country’s predominant Muslim community has been able to travel for the pilgrimage.

“The Sudanese pilgrims this year are less important, and the reason is the ongoing war, which deprived people from practising the Hajj. A small group came from Sudan, most of them are from the rural areas, people in the capital and the cities could not make it. Only people from the rural areas were able to do it,” shared Badr Ibrahim, Sudanese pilgrim. 

On Thursday, the organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) urged the warring parties in Sudan to lay down their arms ahead of Eid-al-Adha, the most important Muslim holiday, marking the culmination of the annual hajj.

Nevertheless, Saudi officials have said they expect the number of pilgrims to reach pre-pandemic levels this year.

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