Chechnya to provide free Islamic Hajj for hundreds of pilgrims
Caucasus' Muslim region, Chechnya will pay for hundreds of pilgrims to go to Mecca for this year's haj, its leader's spokesman said.
Caucasus' Muslim region, Chechnya will pay for hundreds of pilgrims to go to Mecca for this year's haj, its leader's spokesman said on Thursday.
The free haj trip is provided by regional president Ramzan Kadyrov.
"It's for those who do not have the means to go otherwise, and for the single and the young," Kadyrov's spokesman Alvi Karimov said by telephone.
The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam which the Koran says all Muslims must carry out at least once in their lives, if they are able to do so.
The hajj is packed with symbolism and ritual aimed at cleansing the soul of sin. Every able-bodied Muslim who can financially afford to must perform it at least once in his or her lifetime.
Four hundred Chechen pilgrims will fly from the regional capital Grozny direct to Saudi Arabia and will be flown back after they have performed the haj over several days, Karimov said.
Their journeys will be financed out of a fund Kadyrov has created in honour of his father and predecessor, Akhmad, who was assassinated in a bomb blast in 2004.
Around 3 million Muslims make the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia most years, a journey all Muslims must carry out at least once in their lifetime.
Reuters Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Kasım 2009, 22:01