Egyptian lot-chosen pilgrims to stay in upgraded tents during Hajj

CAIRO: Egyptian pilgrims chosen by lottery will enjoy developed tents for their accommodation during the 2015 Islamic pilgrimage in Mecca in October, after staying in largely primitive tents during the ritual, Makkah Newspaper reported.

Around 70,000 Egyptian pilgrims are traveling to Mecca to perform the ritual; 19,000 are lot chosen, a government procedure that offers the cheapest means to go for pilgrimage, 10,000 are supported by the Ministry of Social Solidarity and 40,000 are travelling via tourism companies, according to the Saudi newspaper.

The number of Egyptian pilgrims decreased this year, as requested by the Saudi government, citing development projects carried out in Mecca. The tents of Egyptian pilgrims, who will travel though the government rather than privately-owned companies, are called “European tents” by the Saudi authorities.

Meanwhile, citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will have to seek a permit before going for pilgrimage. Any GCC national who fails to produce a permit will not be allowed into the holy areas where the pilgrimage is performed, reported Makkah Newspaper.

Before that, GCC citizens were able to travel to Mecca in indefinite numbers to perform the ritual without prior notice.

Pilgrimage to Mecca is one of Islam’s five pillars, and is obligatory for Muslims who can afford the trip financially and physically.

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