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CASABLANCA: Moroccan Hajj pilgrims celebrated June 20 at Rabat-Salé airport before departing for Medina for the first time in more than two years.

The contingent, made up of 250 pilgrims, traveled to Saudi Arabia to perform the first Hajj open to international pilgrims since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To mark this day, Moroccan Minister of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs Ahmed Toufiq read a message from King Mohammed VI.

He called on the pilgrims to “represent their country as it should by giving it an honorable image consistent with the strong adherence of its people to the values ​​of tolerance and moderation, their attachment to doctrinal unity and to the principle of the golden mean and rejection”. of any suspicion of extremism.

King Mohammed VI said he had given instructions to the minister “so that he constantly takes care to deploy all the means of care” and to “ensure all the conditions of comfort” so that the pilgrims can “perform the rites in an exemplary manner”. .

He added, “We also invite you to respect the measures and provisions adopted by the authorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the organization of this holy season of Hajj.”

A total of 33 flights are scheduled by the Moroccan authorities as part of this year’s pilgrimage. The last flight is due to take off on July 3.

Fees for pilgrims, overseen by the Ministry of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs for the 1443 season, were set at 63,800 Moroccan dirhams ($6,300). The figure was announced by the ministry in a press release on May 23.

To organize this year’s pilgrimage, the Royal Commission held a meeting to discuss the measures taken by the Saudi authorities responsible for the Hajj. Among other requirements, those authorized to make the pilgrimage must be under the age of 65, vaccinated (three doses), and present a negative PCR test carried out within 72 hours before departure.

The quota of Moroccan pilgrims is 45% of the normal amount. A total of 15,392 Moroccans will make the trip, of which 10,186 are supervised by the Ministry of Religious Habous and Islamic Affairs, and 5,206 by travel agencies.

“Within the limit of the percentage mentioned, the Moroccan pilgrims will be chosen among those who were selected during the 2019 draw. In the event that the quota is not reached, we will resort to the waiting list while respecting the condition of ‘age,’ the ministry said.

Those excluded due to non-compliance with the vaccination schedule will retain their right to be part of next year’s pilgrimage if the age criterion is in line and the vaccination is complete,” the ministry added.

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