Monday, November 24, 2008

November 22, 2008

4,000 Filipino Muslims expected to join this year's Haj
11/22/2008 01:23 PM

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - The Philippine Consulate General here is in the thick of preparations to assist Filipino pilgrims for this year’s Haj in Makkah.Consul General Ezzedin Tago said that about 4,000 Filipino Muslim pilgrims are expected to participate in this year’s Haj, which will be in December.

The Haj is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world and is the fifth pillar of Islam, an obligation that must be carried out at least once in an Islam devotee's lifetime if he or she can afford it and is able to do so.The first batch of Filipino pilgrim arrived at the Haj terminal of the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah on November 11.

Tago said that consulate personnel are all set to assist the pilgrims from their arrival up to their return to the Philippines. The Saudi government has also reportedly expressed its willingness to assist the consulate.

He also said that despite the exhaustion brought about by the long trip to Saudi Arabia, most pilgrims still seem to be lively and happy to reach the holy land.As of posting time, three flights from the Philippines have arrived in Saudi Arabia, which are reported to have carried an estimated 820 pilgrims.

Last year, among the prominent Filipino pilgrims were former Batangas Gov. Antonio Leviste and her more famous equestrienne daughter Toni; Reps. Mujib Hataman of the Anak Mindanao party-list group and Yusuf H. Jikiri of the 1st district of Sulu; Govs. Andal Ampatuan of Maguindanao, Sakur Tan of Sulu, and Sadikul A. Sahali of Tawi-Tawi. - Ronaldo Concha and Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV

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