CAIRO – Flocking to Makkah to perform the spiritual journey of hajj, thousands of Egyptian Muslim pilgrims have been warned against carrying any political signs or flashing the four finger Rabia sign in reference to the ongoing political turmoil in their country.
"Saudi authorities have the right to take whatever measures they see fit to prevent political campaigning during hajj and to ensure the safety of the pilgrims," Egypt's Minister of Religious Endowments (Awqaf) Mokhtar Gomaa said in a statement cited by the World Bulletin on Saturday, October 5.
Gomaa has also warned against political campaigning during hajj season.
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The Egyptian statement followed similar warning on Thursday by Maj. Gen. Saad Bin Abdullah Al-Khelaiwi, Commander of Hajj Security Forces.
Al-Khelaiwi said that Saudi Authorities would firmly counter any attempts to spoil the pilgrimage season, banning political campaigning during the annual Islamic hajj pilgrimage.
Governor of Makkah province Khalid al-Faisal, who also heads the Central Pilgrimage Committee, said on Wednesday that the Saudi government opposed what he called the "politicization" of the pilgrimage.
Millions of Muslims from around the world pour into Makkah every year to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Hajj consists of several ceremonies, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.
Egyptian and Saudi authorities move followed calls by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to flash the now-iconic yellow Rabia sign during hajj, due to start later this month.
Used by tens of millions worldwide, the new four-finger victory sign representing Rabia al Adawiya square, where thousands of Egyptians camped for more than 45 days, has turned into a symbol of hope across the Muslim world.
The four-fingered salute has come to symbolize perseverance and steadfastness in memory of hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators killed in the violent dispersal of their sit-in in Rabia al-Adawiya Square in mid-August.