1.3 million foreign pilgrims to perform Haj
The Saudi Haj ministry Tuesday said more than 1.3 million foreign pilgrims are expected to perform Haj this year. According to the ministry, South Asian countries will send the largest contingent of 410,000 pilgrims followed by Arab countries 250,000, Arab News reported.
About 228,000 pilgrims will come from southeast Asian countries including Indonesia and Malaysia, while Turkey and European countries will have 190,000, non-Arab African countries 170,000 and Iran 63,000.
Saad Al-Qurashi, a member of the National Haj & Umrah Committee, said about 150,000 domestic pilgrims, including expatriates, would perform Haj this year.
The foreign pilgrims will not include those from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as Saudi Arabia announced in April a Haj ban on them to avoid the transmission of Ebola virus.
Saudi Arabia continues for the second year to reduce the number of foreign pilgrims by 20 percent and domestic pilgrims by 50 percent because of expansion operations at the grand mosque in Mecca.