Main control room for security
The Hajj is regarded as the largest annual gathering in the world. About 2.5 million people did it in 2009. It is estimated that the Hajj pilgrims spend about $2 billion during the Hajj. Around 1 million prepared meals are given out at 1,500 centers. Thirty-five bakeries bake 5 million loaves of bread. Ice factories produce 1.5 million blocks of ice a day. In 2005, more than 20,000 buses were used to transport pilgrims from the Mina Valley to Mount Arafat.

The huge numbers posted these days are a relatively recent phenomena. Only 50,000 people did the Hajj in 1950. About 300,000 did it in 1965; and 400,000 did it in 1975. In the 2000s, between 2 million and 2.5 million pilgrims from up to 160 nations have taken part each year. There were 1.8 million including 1.3 million foreigners in 2001; 2.04 million in 2003; and around 2 million in 2004 . A record 2.56 million, including 1.53 million foreigners, did the Hajj in 2005. Of the 500,000 additional pilgrims from the year before about 20 percent were pilgrims from outside Saudi Arabia and 80 percent were Saudis or people living in Saudi Arabia.

Some dispute the claim that the Hajj is the largest annual gathering in the world. The Shia (Shiite) pilgrimage of Arbaeen in Karbala, Iraq is bigger in part because there are no restrictions n who can participate like there are with the Hajj. In 2023, AFP reported: The event, organised under strict security, brought together some 22 million pilgrims, according to official figures. Iran hit a new participation record with four million visitors, a top security official told the Iranian news agency IRNA, up from three million in 2022. [Source: AFP, September 6, 2023]

Then there are the melas (festivals) and Kumbh Mela held on the Ganges in India attended by millions of Hindu pilgrims who enter the river in hopes of washing away their sins. There are four major melas: in 1) Allahabad (Prayagraj), 2) in Haridwar, 3) in Nasik, and 4) in Ujjain. Each one is held every 12 years, with one of four held every three years. The one in Allahabad — by far the largest — attracts over 50 to 100 million people. The others attract about 10 million each.

Websites and Resources: Islam IslamOnline islamonline.net ; Institute for Social Policy and Understanding ispu.org; Islam.com islam.com ; Islamic City islamicity.com ; BBC article bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam ; University of Southern California Compendium of Muslim Texts web.archive.org ; Encyclopædia Britannica article on Islam britannica.com ; Islam at Project Gutenberg gutenberg.org ; Muslims: PBS Frontline documentary pbs.org frontline

Hajj Logistics

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crowd outside the Great Mosque in Mecca
The hajj is a massive organizational undertaking for Saudi authorities. They have to deal with security issues, traffic, crowd management, health problems and political tensions. The number of pilgrims is restricted by a quota system established by the Saudi government that keeps the number at around 2 million or 2.5 million by issuing one Hajj visa for every 1,000 Muslims in any country.

According to Associated Press: For the Saudi royal family, which captured Mecca in the 1920s, organizing the pilgrimage is a major source of pride and legitimacy. Authorities have invested billions of dollars in modern infrastructure, but the Hajj has occasionally been marred by tragedy, as in 2015, when over 2,400 pilgrims died in a stampede. [Source: Associated Press., June 26, 2023]

The Saudi king holds the title of "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques." The Saudi Arabian monarchy's supervision of the hajj is a source of great prestige in the Muslim world. According to Associated Press, “Riyadh has rejected a suggestion by Shiite power Iran, its main regional rival, to have an independent body take over planning and administering the five-day hajj pilgrimage.” [Source: Jon Gambrell. Associated Press, October 20, 2015]

What makes logistics so hard is not so much the large number of people but the fact they all have to be moved around simultaneously at a set time, along stations, spanning about 15 kilometers. After an incident in 2006 left 363 dead Osama al-Bar, director of the Hajj Research Center at Umm al-Qura University, told the New York Times, “There’s an incident every two years now. When you get 300,000 people seeking to move all at once, accidents are bound to happen, and they are quickly magnified...You can never predict the problems of the Hajj. At one point it was the flow of people, and we solved it. Then this problem came up. Our job is to keep plugging the holes.”

Sami Anagawi, a prominent architect who founded he Hajj research Center in the 1970s, told the New York Times that Bar’s solutions tend to deal only with symptoms rather than the underlying causes which have more to do with people management than construction. “The Hajj is a complete system, and must be approached as a system, a flow,” he said. “What they do is concentrate and do a project, and put their hopes in that project until something wrong happens, But all that happens is this project creates new issues....The three main variables in arranging the Hajj are density, space and time. So far all they have been dealing with is space.”

Mecca Infrastructure

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To Mina
The Ottoman sultans were guardians of Mecca and Medina for nearly 350 years until they were thrown out of Arabia around the time of World War I. Today the Saudi Arabian royal family bears this responsibility. With money generated from oil revenues, the Saudis have spent $25 billion over the years clearing away run down neighborhoods, building hotels and residences, and enlarging mosques to help accommodate all the Hajj pilgrims. Over $100 million alone has been spent enlarging the Sacred Mosque. Much of the money is believed to be have gone for “commissions” to the Saudi royal family. Much of the construction and maintenance work for the Hajj is done by the Saudi BinLaden Group, the construction company founded by Osama bin Laden’s father.

Since entry into Mecca is restricted to Muslims only. German and French technicians, who oversaw the construction of some Mecca hotels there had to monitors their work crews with closed circuit television cameras and supervise them with cell phones, radios and walkie talkies. In the 1990s, United Automation, a Los-Angeles-based company, was hired to install sound system in mosques in Mecca. Most of the project was completed by American engineers in a warehouse in California because the engineers were barred from entering Mecca. A team of Muslim tacticians had to be flown to Los Angeles to learn how to install and run the system. Because no noise can be transmitted over the system except for the voice of an imam reading the from the Qur’an as part of his duties a system was devised to test the speakers without sound.

To accommodate the large number of pilgrims that arrive during the Hajj, multi-lane roads have been built between Mecca and Arafat and a new airport was erected in Jeddah, 75 kilometers from Mecca. An eight-lane superhighway connects Jeddah with Mecca. The Saudi government has also built housing centers and drilled wells for drinking water. Pilgrims that arrive at the airport are carried to Mecca in double decker buses. Handicapped people are provided with electric wheelchairs and special elevators.

The huge influx of people during the Hajj triples the population of Mecca to between two or three million, straining the water supply and other facilities. During the Hajj, field hospitals are erected and facilities are set up for distributing food and water and providing phone service. Water is given out free from refrigerated truck to prevent dehydration. During the climbing of Mount Arafat the government distributes bottles of water and box lunches.

Hajj Security and Medical Treatment

Massive security and manpower is needed to keep the huge influx of pilgrims reasonably safe and protected and things running smoothly. Security forces specially trained for the Hajj are deployed. Health education videos are shown flights to Mecca. Ambulances and helicopters are situated in strategic locations. Crowds are monitored with closed circuit cameras. The Ministry of Pilgrimage is the government body that sorts everything out.

About 100,000 employees and volunteers and 50,000 soldiers and security personnel work the Hajj each year. Saudi police have complete authority over pilgrims. Thousands are positioned at the sacred sites and along the route from Mecca to Mina. Roadblocks are set up on all the major roads to the city. Political activity and protests are not tolerated. In 2006, 60,000 security offers were deployed by Saudi Arabia to handle crowds and avert attacks by Islamic militants.

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Saudi security forces on parade
Each pilgrim needs a permit. In Jeddah pilgrims stop at the Ministry of Pilgrimage Affairs and Religious Trusts to register and file a petition of intent and are issued a permit. Most pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia with a special pilgrim visas given out during the Hajj. On the highway between Jeddah and Mecca the pilgrims clear checkpoints manned by soldiers who check visas and permits to make sure all the paperwork is in order. Signs in English and Arabic read: RESTRICTED AREA, MUSLIMS ONLY PERMITTED.

The area outside the Grand Mosque is dotted with ambulances, mobile clinics and fire trucks during the Hajj. Thousands of paramedics are on standby inside the Grand Mosque. Saudi authorities said in 2023 more than 32,000 health workers were on hand to treat cases of heatstroke, dehydration and exhaustion. As climate change heats up an already scorching region, making sure all goes well for the Hajj pilgrims could prove to be even more challenging. [Source: Haitham El-Tabei, AFP,, June 25, 2023]

Mecca Development in the 2010s

In the 2010s, Mecca and the area around the Grand Mosque was overhauled, redeveloped and heavily commercialized. High-rise hotels and apartment blocks now dominate the Mecca skyline. Sites of important events in Islam have been paved over to make way for shopping malls with branches of Starbucks, the Body Shop, Cinnabun and Top Shop. As the number of pilgrims making the Hajj has swelled to nearly 3 million, new investors with an eye for profit have entered the scene. A special effort has been made lure to wealthier pilgrims, with people with links to the Saudi royal family allegedly set to profit the most.

The Saudi Arabia British Bank has estimated that about $5 billion a year was being spent on construction and infrastructure in Mecca in the 2010s. About 120 skyscrapers were going up then. These included the Abraj al-Bait Towers, which is one of the biggest buildings in the world. Only meters from the Kaaba, it has seven 30-story-high towers that will hold a 2,000-room hotels, a convention center built to hold 1,500 people, heliports and a four-story shopping mall. It has1.45 million square meters of floor space, twice that of the Pentagon. “Abraj al-Bait” is Arabic for “Tower of God.”

The famed architect Norman Foster and several foreign architectural firms have been placed in charge of redeveloping the area around Grand Mosque to make it more accommodating to millions of Muslim pilgrims and visitors that come to the city and the mosque every year. The plan called for initially expanding the capacity of the mosque to around 1 million in the first phase of development and eventually make it large enough to welcome 3 million people.

Mecca Development in the 2020s

Associated Press reported in 2023: Billboards line the Umm Al Qura highway leading to the Grand Mosque in Mecca, displaying manicured public spaces, glass-fronted stores and sleek towers. It’s part of a $26 billion project to bring more Muslims to the holy city's high-end hotels, residences, retailers and restaurants. Mecca is being rapidly pushed to an even grander scale. An ambitious plan to reshape the economy aims to bring in more than 30 million religious tourists a year by 2030, and for tourism to contribute up to $80 billion, or 10 percent of GDP, as the kingdom reduces its reliance on oil. [Source: Riazat Butt and Jack Jeffery, Associated Press, June 30, 2023]

For more than a decade, furious development has transformed the center of Mecca with fields of towers surrounding around the Grand Mosque, housing the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest site. Facing the mosque’s main entrance is the centerpiece, the monumental Makkah Royal Clock Tower, the fourth tallest building in the world. Makkah is an alternative spelling of the city's name.Hotels within walking distance or a view of the Grand Mosque charge eye-watering amounts during the Hajj and Ramadan seasons. The best spots are already taken by a Pullman, a Raffles, and other luxury hotels. So companies are targeting areas northwest and northeast of the Grand Mosque. And Umm Al Qura Road is ripe for development.

Behind the bright billboards along the highway are a jumble of cranes, craters and piles of grey rubble in the ongoing construction of the $26 billion Masar Makkah development project. The plan is to lay down a 3.5-kilometer-long (2-mile) swath of hotels, residential buildings, parks and malls leading up to the Grand Mosque area. Local media report that the company leading the project demolished thousands of homes and paid out more than $2.9 billion in compensation to their residents over a period of five years.

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Worshippers eat at the Haram
On the other side are low-rise and dingy pilgrim lodgings, budget eateries, and tiny stores crammed with pilgrimage essentials — a world away from the shiny and upscale future for Mecca envisioned by Saudi Arabia. Scores of pilgrims, mostly from developing countries, sit on the sidewalks. The curb appeal improves the closer you get to the Grand Mosque.

Twenty-seven projects, each valued at $25 million or more, are underway in Mecca, according to the Global Data Construction Intelligence Centre. Of these, 13 are in the hospitality, retail and residential sectors, and the rest in transport. Other multi-billion-dollar projects of tower complexes, like Jabal Omar and Thakher Makkah, talk about “lively, all-inclusive communities" and “balanced spirituality.”

The attempt to blend religious tradition and innovation requires sensitive handling by Saudi Arabia's leadership, as well as the developers and companies moving inches Mecca is revered by Muslims around the world as the place where the Prophet Muhammed was born and preached 1,400 years ago. Any perceived harm to the sanctity of the holy sites, even unintentional, could upset the faithful.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia’s leadership wants to emphasize the modern, new Mecca by showing off the grandiose new construction and projects in the pipeline. At the 24-hour Starbucks near the Grand Mosque, a $25 jute shoulder bag shows the clock tower and neighboring high-rises alongside the coffee chain’s logo. Branding for Vision 2030, the economic diversification program, is everywhere.

Objections to Mecca Development and Lost Historical Sites

Not everyone like the changes. Among the biggest critic is Sami Angawu, an expert on Islamic architecture in Mecca and Medina, who objects to the way historic sites have been demolished and the fact that “outsiders” and non-Muslims who can’t even enter Mecca are spearheading the plan. “When you design a mosque, you need to be able to experience it,” he told the Times of London. On all the development he told AP, “Everyday you can see the buildings becoming bigger and bigger and higher and higher...To me Mecca is not a city. It is a sanctuary. It is a place of diversity and tolerance....Unfortunately it isn’t anymore.” Dissenting voices were not loudly heard in Saudi Arabia as opposition to decisions by the King and his advisors are not welcomed.

According to Associated Press: Mecca residents have mixed feelings about the dramatic transformation of the city. “It is not the Mecca that we know,” said Fajr Abdullah Abdul-Halim, a 57-year-old who was born and raised in the city but now lives in Jeddah. Her family used to live near the Grand Mosque. Now both the homes are gone. “Before, there were neighborhoods near the Grand Mosque, but now it is mostly towers and overpasses.” Old neighborhoods like Ajyad, Sad, Jarwal and Shweika, have been remodeled to absorb the increased capacity for religious tourism. [Source: Riazat Butt and Jack Jeffery, Associated Press, June 30, 2023]

Abdul-Halim said although locals want to live in the city, the construction work has pushed them to the outskirts. “People say it’s better to move out for better schooling and work.” An Egyptian chef who has worked in Mecca for six years is happy about the new developments and the prospect of wealthier tourists because it means more business for his restaurant. But he acknowledges it comes at a cost, with low-paid laborers from Bangladesh and Myanmar being some of the hardest hit as they get priced out of more neighbourhoods.

Wide-reaching demolitions have also redefined certain parts of the city. Misfalah, just south of the Grand Mosque, was an area the chef loved to visit as it was where his favourite African restaurant was located. It went with the demolitions, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal in a country where any perceived criticism of authorities can bring severe repercussions.

Another Egyptian, who has lived in Mecca for over a decade and spoke anonymously for the same reason, welcomes the near-constant construction and development because of its positive effect on the economy. The investment has led to new restaurants, hotels, shops and better infrastructure. He has been paid good money to work on projects across the city. But he worries that the luxury hotels could become a distraction from the religious experience synonymous with Mecca. “Maybe when people come they will forget about the Kaaba ... and focus on the buildings and highways,” he said.

Lost Historical Sites in Mecca and Medina

Among the historical and religious sites and buildings that have been lost or paved over are the house of Mohammad’s first wife Khadija — where Muslims believe the prophet received some of the first revelations of the Qur’an — and Dar- al-Arqam, the school where Muhammad was taught, and the house where Muhammad was born. A 200-year-old fort built by the Ottoman on a hill overlooking the Kaaba, to protect the holy sites, was torn down to make way for a multimillion-dollar housing complex for pilgrims.

Some Islamists have not been unhappy to see the historical sites go. In their eyes they promoted idolatry. They encouraged the house where Muhammad is believed to have been born to be torn down. The library that was built on top of it in the 1930s was a compromise to appease Wahhabi clerics. The Khadja and the Dar- al-Arqam disappeared when the Grand Mosque was expanded in the 1980s. At Hira’s Cave, where Muhammad; is believed to have received the first verses of the Qur’an in the mountains on the edge of Mecca signs posted by Wahhabi religious police warn pilgrims not to pray or “touch stones to be blessed.”

In Medina the only shrine to have survived the Wahhabi anti-idolatry campaign is Muhammad’s tomb. There, religious police bar visitors from praying in the tomb chamber or touching the silver cage around it. Among the historical sites destroyed there were the baqi, a large cemetery where tombs of several of the prophet’s wives, daughters, as many as six grandsons and Shiite saints were once located. Grave markers at the site have been bulldozed away . Religion police open the site once a day to let in male pilgrims. Visitors are not allowed to pray. One Indian pilgrim who cried because he was not allowed to pray told AP: “It is pretty sad that our imam do not have tomb stones to tell where they are buried. They deserve a shrine as monumental as Taj Mahal.”

Renovations and Construction in Mecca

House of Khadijah, wife of Muhammad, after demolition in Mecca

There is massive construction underway in Mecca as the city increases its capacity to accept Hajj pilgrims in the future, but this means there is less room while the building is going on. Over the last three years there has been a reduction in the number of pilgrims because of the expansion of the Two Holy Mosques and the massive infrastructure improvements. [Source: Dahlia Nehme, Reuters, September 12, 2016]

Dahlia Nehme of Reuters wrote: “Mecca’s mayor Osama bin Fadl Al-Bar said the renovations to expand Mecca’s Grand Mosque and nearby hotels, which have turned the area into a tangle of cranes, would drive future business and let the city accommodate 3.7 million Hajj pilgrims in 2020 and 6.7 million by 2042. “There is certainly an effect on economic sectors, but the private sector is always looking toward the light at the end of the tunnel and the investment opportunities that are present.”

As part of a reform plan to wean Saudi Arabia off its dependency on oil, the government aims to encourage even more visits to Mecca outside of Hajj season, raising annual pilgrim numbers to 30 million by 2030 from 8 million at present. Some architectural and cultural critics have lamented the changes to Mecca’s landscape from the development projects, which include highrises and a 76-story clocktower.

World's Biggest Clock Launches 2010 Ramadan in Mecca

In August 2010, the world's biggest clock began ticking in Mecca at the start of the fasting month of Ramadan, amid hopes by Saudi Arabia it will become the Muslim world’s official timekeeper. Asma Alsharif of Reuters wrote: “The Mecca Clock, which Riyadh says is the world’s largest, has four faces measuring 43 meters in diameter. It sits 400 meters up what will be the world’s second-tallest skyscraper and largest hotel, overlooking the city’s Holy Grand Mosque, which Muslims around the world turn to five times a day for prayer. “The Holy Mecca Clock started with the order of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud ... one minute after 12 a.m. this morning, the first day of the holy month of Ramadan,” Saudi state news agency SPA said. [Source: Asma Alsharif, Reuters, August 12, 2010 -]

“Over 90 million pieces of colored glass mosaic embellish the sides of the clock, which has four faces each bearing a large inscription of the name “Allah.” It is visible from all corners of the city, the state news agency said. The clock tower is the landmark feature of the seven-tower King Abdulaziz Endowment hotel complex, being built by the private Saudi Binladen Group, which will have the largest floor area of any building in the world when it is complete. Local media have said the clock tower project cost $3 billion. -

Abraj al-Bait Towers in 2012

“The clock is positioned on a 601-meter tower, which will become the second tallest inhabited building in the world when it is completed in three months’ time. “Because it based in front of the holy mosque the whole Islamic world will refer to Mecca time instead of Greenwich. The Mecca clock will become a symbol to all Muslims,” said Hashim Adnan, a resident of nearby Jeddah who frequently visits Mecca. -

The project is part of efforts to modernize the old city and make it more capable of catering to pilgrims.While many in Saudi Arabia are celebrating the clock tower’s launch, some Mecca visitors are critical of how it will affect the ambiance of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthplace. The complex is built on the land once occupied by an Ottoman fortress. “I think they are trying to do a lot of luxurious development around the Grand Mosque which is taking away from the spiritual atmosphere of the place, making it more modern,” said Lina Edris, a frequent visitor to Mecca. “The clock tower is higher than the minarets of the Grand Mosque, which will take attention away from the mosque even though it is obvious the mosque is more important,” she added.” -

World's Largest Hotel in Mecca

Abraj Kudai—the $3.5-billion project expected to become the world’s biggest hotel (by room count) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia is set to open in 2018. The 10,000-room, 70-restaurants complex supposed to have been completed by 2017. Eustacia Huen of Forbes wrote: “This is a result of the low oil prices, which according to a recent Gulf Business article, could be causing quite a ripple effect on the Saudi economy. As the owner of the Abraj Kudai project, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Finance is also a prime customer of The Saudi Binladin Group (SBL)—one of the country’s largest construction companies. Naturally, the actions of the government directly affect SBL. So when the low oil prices began propelling the government “to cancel or suspend projects and delay payments,” SBL suffers too. Further exacerbating the situation, as reported by Gulf Business, was when one of SBL’s cranes fell into the Grand Mosque in Mecca, resulting in 107 deaths and the company banning “from receiving new state contracts altogether.” In response to its potential financial collapse, the conglomerate lets go of thousands of employees and stopped work on several important projects that includes, of course—Abraj Kudai. [Source: Eustacia Huen, Forbes, Jul 31, 2016 /+/]

Since 2015, “Abraj Kudai has attracted much attention for a number of reasons. First, it overtook (most notably) the likes of First World Hotel (7,351 rooms) in Malaysia and MGM Grand (5,044 rooms) in Las Vegas to become the world’s biggest hotel in terms of room-count. Then, many such as Time.com and Architectural Digest reported on the multi-functional project, revealing how it would contain 70 restaurants, food courts, a bus station, a shopping mall, a conference center and ballroom. With twelve towers housing four- and five-star rooms, five floors reserved entirely for Saudi royalties, and four rooftop helipads, Abraj Kudai was touted for “offering an unprecedented level of luxury” by CNN. /+/

“So while the folks at Dar Al Handasah—the international design firm in charge of the project—believes this development will become a striking landmark for its “unparalleled size, height, distinguished location and exposure,” the $3.5-billion project and the likes of other luxury hotels near the Sacred Mosque also attracted much criticism—especially from pilgrims who attend Haj. For instance, Irfan Al-Alawi, Director of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation in the UK, spoke to The Guardian about how “Everything has been swept away to make way for the incessant march of luxury hotels, which are destroying the sanctity of the place and pricing normal pilgrims out.” And while the starting price of Abraj Kudai’s four or five-star hotel towers are unknown as of press time, it appears that these luxury hotels are turning the “simple rite of passage”… “into an experience closer to Las Vegas, which most pilgrims simply can’t afford,” he noted. /+/

Abraj Kudai plan

“At this point, given the potential effect SBL’s actions could have on the Saudi Arabia economy, it seems questionable as to when (or if) the development could be built. This progression of events is hardly surprising to Tarik Dogru, Assistant Professor of Hospitality Finance and Accounting at Boston University School of Hospitality Administration. Prior to the reporting by Gulf Business, he noted how the country’s fiscal deficit has risen to approximately $100 billion in 2015, which effectively makes budget management of a major project like Abraj Kudai especially challenging. /+/

So as it seems, what we see now— according to Dogru—is the effect of the Saudi government restructuring the economy in response to the deficit. With plans to reduce spending, opening their economy to foreign investment in a larger scale, and changing immigration policies, the Saudi Arabia—as Dogru sees it—is a strong country and major oil producer that could well have the effective strategies to weather this storm.

And as for the Abraj Kudai, the financial expert believes the potentially prestigious country icon would continue and be finished in the near future—although he predicts that it would most likely be after 2018. Completing this development through this difficult time would mean applying different strategies—from finding other construction companies to finish the job or entering into a joint venture with a foreign investor, “but in theory, the solutions are endless,” Dogru said. Ultimately, “The decision about when and how to complete the Abraj Kudai would depend on the government, and it will probably be an important indication of how a restructured Saudi Arabia economy will look like,” noted Dogru.

Image Sources: Al-Jazeera English, Wikimedia Commons except Abraj Kudai, BetterInteriors.in

Text Sources: Internet Islamic History Sourcebook: sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Arab News, Jeddah; “Islam, a Short History” by Karen Armstrong; “A History of the Arab Peoples” by Albert Hourani (Faber and Faber, 1991); “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); Metropolitan Museum of Art, Encyclopedia.com, National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Library of Congress and various books and other publications.

Last updated April 2024

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