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Over 16,000 pilgrims from Russia arrive in Saudi Arabia for Hajj

October 11, 2013, 15:19 UTC+3

Russian pilgrims currently stay in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina

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MOSCOW, October 11 (Itar-Tass) - More than 16,000 Muslims from Russia have begun the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca, which every true believer should make at least once.

All the pilgrims safely arrived in Saudi Arabia, without any serious illness cases among them, a Russian Hajj mission source told Itar-Tass on Friday.

Russian pilgrims currently stay in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. On Saturday, they will go to the Valley of Mina, where they will spend two nights. It is paid in full for buses to carry them to the Hajj sites. They will stay in camps in the Valley of Mina and on Mount Arafat, where places are prepared for them.

No virus infection cases have been reported, pilgrimage organizers noted. This time, 83 doctors from Russian regions accompany the groups of pilgrims. An operational headquarters of the Hajj mission is open in Mecca for 24 hours a day. People may ask it for help in case of any problems.

On October 18, after performing all the Hajj rituals, pilgrims will begin to leave for the home land.

In accordance with the quota set by Saudi Arabia, 16,400 Russians have gone on the pilgrimage this year.

Most of them are from Dagestan (6,400), Chechnya (about 3,000), Ingushetia (1,500) and other North Caucasian republics. The second for the number is the Volga region, and the third is Moscow.

During the Hajj, there is a unique possibility to feel the unity of Muslims from various regions and courtiers. All, irrespective of skin colour and other differences, are equal before God and differ only in degrees of obedience to Allah, deputy head of the Russian Council of Muftis Rushan Abbyasov said. He talked to pilgrims before their departure,

Under Saudi Arabia's regulations, people no older than 65 and no younger than 12 go on a pilgrimage. Usually pilgrims over 18 arrive for the Hajj.

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