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Poor Man’s Hajj

Every year thousands of Muslims head to Mecca for the Hajj. The pilgrimage is the fifth pillar of Islam, however, for poor Sufi Muslims of Egypt and North Africa, life’s obligations may leave them without the resources to achieve their dream. In the Humaithera valley in Egypt, the annual Mulid (celebration) of Sheikh Abu al-Hassan al-Shazli, a 13th century Sufi Imam, gives those without the means to go to Mecca a more affordable option. This year, after commentators alleged Saudi Arabia might use revenues from the pilgrimage to pursue the crown prince’s foreign policies, including his deadly war in Yemen and the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, some Egyptian activists who do not agree with those Saudi policies are joining what has been called “The Poor Man’s Hajj.”

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