RMC Briefings

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Briefing: Hajj 2023 – ticketing frustration and soaring temperatures

Hajj 2023 will be remembered for a record 2.5 million attendees, another chaotic online ticketing system, and soaring temperatures above 113 degrees Fahrenheit warning alarm bells of climate change. But the spiritual benefits as pilgrims walk more than 30 miles between shrines in exhausting heat, may never be fully quantified.

Speakers at this Religion Media Centre briefing told their own stories of spiritual enlightenment at an event which is proscribed for all Muslims to do at least once in a lifetime. And they explained the practical dilemmas and frustrations for British Muslims, wrought by ticket quotas judged against national populations, the increasing cost of tickets and accommodation which could cost £10,000 per person, and the implications for western Muslims who may never get the opportunity to take part in an obligatory festival.

Chaired by Ruth Peacock, our guests were: Mohammad Shoiab, formerly a news producer with Islam TV; Saman Javed, reporter with Hyphen Online; Sean McLoughlin, Professor of the Anthropology of Islam (Muslim Diasporas), University of Leeds; Shahin Ashraf, Islamic Relief’s Head of Global Advocacy, on climate change and Hajj; and Sohail Hanif, CEO National Zakat Foundation, on a giving campaign during Hajj.

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