Over 2 million Muslims in Mecca for start of hajj pilgrimage

Male pilgrims wearing simple terry cloth white garments and women in conservative dress and headscarves will circle the cube-shaped Kaaba on Friday.

9 August 2019 | 09:58

Source: Associated Press

  • Source: Associated Press
  • Last update: 9 August 2019 | 09:58

A Muslim pilgrim prays as he watches thousands of pilgrims circumambulate around the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, ahead of the Hajj pilgrimage in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019. (AP Photo)

MECCA, Saudi Arabia: More than 2 million pilgrims have gathered in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia to perform initial rites of the hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago.

The hajj in Islam is meant to unify Muslims, with pilgrims shedding displays of wealth and materialism.

Male pilgrims wearing simple terry cloth white garments and women in conservative dress and headscarves will circle the cube-shaped Kaaba on Friday.

The pilgrimage this year takes place amid a backdrop of political and sectarian tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran and conflicts still flare in Yemen, Syria and Libya. Muslim minorities around the world also face increased threats, including in Indian-administered Kashmir, where a sweeping curfew is in effect.

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