13,000 Chinese Muslims return from pilgrimage in Mecca

22:09, December 14, 2010      

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13,000 Chinese Muslims have returned home following this year's pilgrimage to the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, as the last chartered plane landed in Beijing Tuesday.

According to an unnamed official with the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the operational capacity of Jeddah airport in Saudi Arabia was greatly reduced this year, which delayed the return schedule for Muslims from China and other countries.

The official said that with the joint efforts of foreign affairs, civil aviation departments and China's pilgrimage group, most of the country's chartered planes have returned.

The China Islamic Institute sent emergency medicine and equipment to pilgrimage groups for medical treatment of pilgrims during the delay, the official said.

China has around 23 million Muslims in more than 20 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities, according to official statistics.

A pilgrimage to Mecca, the birthplace of the Prophet Mohammed and a shrine for Muslims throughout the world, is a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in the lifetime of every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so.

Source: Xinhua
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