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Female Saudi officers allowed to guard Islam’s holiest sites for the first time

Mecca: A significant milestone for women’s empowerment has been achieved when several female soldiers have joined the security services responsible for monitoring pilgrims in Mecca and Medina, the birthplaces of Islam. Deutsche Welle reported that Saudi female soldiers stood guard in Mecca for the first time as thousands of Muslim pilgrims took part in the Hajj this year. Khaki-clad women were seen monitoring the security situation at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Along with khaki, they also wore loose trousers, a black beret over a veil covering their hair, and a hip-length jacket.

The feat was hailed across Twitter. It has been hailed by many users as a major step toward women’s empowerment. A Twitter user wrote, ‘For the first time in Makkah history, a female guard is performing duty during #Hajj #WomenEmpowerment. It’s long overdue, but it’s never too late’. Thousands of vaccinated Muslim pilgrims performed Hajj in Mecca while adhering to COVID-19 protocols. The Hajj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, concluded with the celebration of Eid al-Adha.

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Al Jazeera reports 10,000 vaccinated Muslim pilgrims circled Islam’s holiest site in Mecca on Sunday (July 18) but remained socially distant and wore masks as the coronavirus continues to threaten the Hajj. The Hajj pilgrimage used to draw some 2.5 million Muslims from all walks of life around the world, but is now almost unrecognizable in terms of its scale.

The Saudi government has allowed 60,000 vaccinated citizens and residents to perform the Hajj this year due to ongoing concerns about the spread of Coronavirus. Last year’s Hajj was largely symbolic, with fewer than 1,000 people from within the kingdom taking part.

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