Egyptian pilgrims arrive at the Cairo International Airport late on August 25, 2016, for their departure to the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. / AFP / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED
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Every year tens of thousands of Egyptians apply for visas to travel to Mecca to join more than a million Muslims from across the world at the pilgrimage.Muslims have traveled to Mecca for the hajj since the 7th Century, when God is believed to have ordained it in the Koran.Last year an estimated 2,300 pilgrims – among them 464 Iranians and 182 Egyptians – died in a stampede at the hajj, according to tallies from foreign officials. Many Muslims still dream of going – even those who have already made repeated pilgrimages, such as 93-year-old Salem Ibrahim Rahmo.The rituals, believed to date to the time of Abraham – who Muslims believe built the original Kaaba as the first house of worship – will begin on Sept. 9 and last for six days.
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