By Michel Cousins.
Tripoli, 3 August:
A quarter of the 7,000 places for Libyans undertaking the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca this year are . . .[restrict]to be reserved for the families of martyrs of the revolution. Speaking at the government’s weekly press conference yesterday, government spokesman Nasser Al-Manaa also confirmed that all those families’ costs for the pilgrimage would be covered by the authorities.
The families are to be chosen by lottery.
Last year, Manaa explained, the authorities had also set aside a percentage of Haj places for martyrs’ families and covered their full costs. The practice will continue every year for the foreseeable future, he said.
The remaining 75 percent of places will be open to all Libyans and will, again, be chosen by lottery, he said, adding that the government will pay 25 percent of their pilgrimage costs as well
Haj is expected this year between 24-29 October. Pilgrims usually spend around two weeks in Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage, arriving several days beforehand. Many also travel to Medina to pray at the Mosque of the Prophet.
The number of places a country is allocated by the Saudi Arabian authorities is usually based on the formula of 1,000 per million Muslims. In the case of Libya, this year’s allocation is seen as on the generous side. [/restrict]