Posted by: becketfund | December 7, 2006

Uzbekistan: Government Restricts Number of Hajj Pilgrims

Forum 18 reports that Uzbekistan has restricted the number of Muslims who are allowed to make the hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca required at least once of all able Muslims), requiring local committees, administration, the secret police and the state-controlled Haj Commission to screen all potential pilgrims. Despite the fact that nearly 90 percent of the country is Muslim, the government has substantially reduced the number of pilgrims to Mecca, permitting only around 20 percent of the total possible number of pilgrims to take part. Uzbekistan’s hajj controls are not unique among the central Asian republics, many of which restrict participation to a greater or lesser degree.

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