Hajj on lockdown: How the Saudi government is working to protect its visiting pilgrims this year
Last year, the Hajj celebrations in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia were marred by tragedy. A stampede killed over 2 thousand pilgrims and the collapse of a crane killed dozens more — bringing the Saudi government’s ability to cope with the influx of pilgrims (who number about 3.7 million annually) into question.
For Hajj 2016, Saudi Arabia made unprecedented changes to its infrastructure and security in the region. Likely motivated by the fallout of the stampede and crane disasters last year as well as recent bombing attacks within the Kingdom, the Saudi Army and Air Force, as well as medical professionals and traffic police are out in full force to halt or prevent any catastrophes and foil any attempts to breach the security of this year's Hajj.
Not just would-be attackers are in the crosshairs. Security forces are keeping an eye out for Muslims sneaking into Mecca without permission - illegally performing the Hajj without winning the enigmatic visa lottery system created by the Saudi government.
To get their point across, the Saudi government has launched a targeted social media campaign that seeks to reassure the public that this Hajj is on lockdown - from medical concerns to security to getting official paperwork - if you’re in Mecca this week they will have your back.
- Pilgrims are warned to protect the sanctity of the House of Allah
- The National Hajj (Health & Safety) Awareness Week launched in the UK
- British Hajj pilgrims are warned to take Health & Safety issues seriously
- Smuggled into Mecca: How some Muslims illegally perform Hajj
- Indonesia has a 37-year wait list for Hajj!