300,000 Indian Haj applicants turned down

Saudi security forces patrol while Muslim pilgrims gather at the Plain of Arafat during the annual pilgrimage, known as the hajj, near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday.

Saudi security forces patrol while Muslim pilgrims gather at the Plain of Arafat during the annual pilgrimage, known as the hajj, near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday.

An estimated 300,000 Indian Muslims did not have their applications approved for the Haj this year, according to reports.

About 136,000 are performing the pilgrimage this year, according to the Indian Consulate. There are fewer Indians in the Kingdom because of the 20 percent quota reduction stemming from the expansion of the Grand Mosque.

India has 150 million Muslims in a population of over a billion people. For many it is a dream come true to be on Haj.

Islam Hyder, 33, told a local newspaper he was ecstatic to be in the Kingdom. “This is the dream of my life.” He said that there are celebrations for days in local communities when a person goes on Haj.

Women pilgrims adorn themselves with henna and buy special clothes for the journey, he said.

Hyder’s mother said she had been waiting for this moment for more than 55 years. She raised her hands skywards and said: “I pray for the Almighty to restore peace and security among humans all over the world. I pray for my country India to always grow and prosper.”

 
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