Fifty Sri Lankans, the first of the 2,400 foreign pilgrims who are to perform Haj this year as guests of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, arrived in the Kingdom on Monday.
Abdullah Al-Mudlaj, CEO of the guest pilgrims’ program, said Muslim leaders from different parts of the world have been invited to perform Haj this year as King Abdullah’s guests.
He said among the 2,400 guest pilgrims, 1,400 will come from 80 countries, while the remaining 1,000 will come from Palestine.
Meanwhile, the Makkah-based Muslim World League said it would host 500 pilgrims, including directors of Islamic centers, as well as those who have contributed to the establishment of mosques, orphanages, Islamic schools and health facilities in different parts of the Muslim world.
“The presence of Muslim leaders from different countries will enable MWL officials to understand the condition of Muslims in those countries,” said MWL Secretary-General Abdullah Al-Turki.
Jeddah Islamic Port
Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal visited the Jeddah Islamic Port on Monday. He was accompanied by Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed, Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar and Transport Minister Jabara Al-Seraisry.
Prince Khaled hosted a group of foreign pilgrims who arrived at the port to perform Haj this year. The governor toured the various departments at the port to learn more about their activities.
Speaking at a ceremony at the port, Al-Seraisry said the Saudi Ports Authority is currently implementing projects worth SR1 billion and will soon sign project contracts worth SR254 million.
A total of 1,167 cameras have been installed in various parts of the Grand Mosque in Makkah. The cameras will be linked to the operation room, said Maj. Gen. Yahya Al-Zahrani, commander of the special forces for the Grand Mosque’s security.
“These cameras are installed to monitor the movement of pilgrims inside the mosque to ensure their security and safety,” he said. There is continuous change in the forces’ operational plan as a result of ongoing expansion work, he added.
Al-Zahrani said a series of options have been made available for pilgrims to circumambulate around the Holy Kaaba, adding that it would reduce overcrowding in the area around the Kaaba.
“Pilgrims can perform circumambulation either in the area around the Kaaba or on the first floor, ground floor or underground floor. They can also perform the ritual on the newly built suspended mataf,” he said.