Saudi to keep reduced pilgrim quota until next year
Jeddah, July 17, 2014
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Haj will keep in place the reduction in the number of domestic and international pilgrims by 50 and 20 per cent respectively, said a report.
The decision will continue to take effect owing to the huge expansion projects still under way in the Grand Mosque in Makkah, said the Arab News report.
"The decision was issued during the last meeting of the Ministry of Haj and aims to maintain the health and safety of pilgrims," Hatem Al-Qadi, spokesman for the ministry was quoted as saying.
The ministry uses the data available to serve visitors and worshippers and make their journey enjoyable and memorable, he said.
Al-Qadi confirmed that the number of pilgrims this year will be the same as in the last Haj season.
The Saudi Arabian citizens and residents should adhere to the ministry's decision of performing Haj once in five years, he said.
The expansion work on the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque are the largest in the history of the city, and will result in accomodating 2.2 million worshippers in the former and will double the current capacity of the Mataf, said the report.
The expansions will also increase the capacity of the courtyards surrounding the Grand Mosque, and lessen the urban congestions around the area to the north, the west and northeast, it added.