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Two million Muslims take part in Hajj pilgrimage

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By Euronews
Two million Muslims take part in Hajj pilgrimage

Some two million Muslims have converged on Mount Arafat for the second and most important day of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Saudi authorities are using drones to keep an eye on the crowds at the holy site after hundreds, if not thousands, were crushed to death last year.

Able-bodied Muslims the world over must make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime if it is financially possible.

Many will use the occasion to pray for those in conflict-torn countries, such as Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

“Yes I want to pray for Yemen and the people in Syria and Iraq and all the oppressed Muslim people,” said Mahdi al Ahdal, a Yemeni pilgrim. “May God guide Islam and all Muslims. This (Hajj) is an Islamic ritual and a part of the five pillars of Islam.”

Mount Arafat, or the Mountain of Mercy, near Mecca, is the site where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad gave his final sermon to followers.

From there, believers head to the Jamarat area to complete the next stage of the pilgrimage. The Saudi government has spent billions of dollars expanding the site after two stampedes in previous years killed hundreds of people.