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Pilgrims Begin To Arrive In Saudi Arabia For The Hajj

1 January 2005 -- More than 435,000 pilgrims have arrived already in Saudi Arabia in preparation for the annual Hajj to the holy city of Mecca, scheduled for the last two weeks of this month.

Making the Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and a requirement for all Muslims at least once during their lifetimes, if they have the means to do so.

Official figures from last year's Hajj showed that nearly 2 million Muslims made the pilgrimage, almost 1.5 million of them arrived from abroad.