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From Minsk To Mecca

A group of Muslims left Belarus on August 23 to take part in the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. For the first time, Saudi officials are requiring that a single tour operator organize pilgrims from each country. Forty-four pilgrims are traveling under the auspices of the Muslim Religious Association of Belarus -- the largest-ever delegation from the country to take part in the hajj. Before departing, the pilgrims gathered to pray at a mosque in Minsk.