Muslim pilgrims leave Grand Mosque, after offering Friday prayers ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, early Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.(AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
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Mahmoud Aouni has always wanted to make the hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, an important religious duty for all Muslims, but says he might never be able to do so now because of Egypt's economic woes.Even wealthier pilgrims are now finding the journey more difficult after Saudi Arabia and Egypt both imposed additional fees for Muslims repeating the lesser pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the umra, within three years.Unlike the last two years, when all those who signed up for the hajj made the journey to Mecca, state news agency MENA quoted Parliamentary Affairs Minister Omar Marwan as saying only 64,000 of Egypt's 80,000 hajj quota would now make the pilgrimage – a drop of 20 percent. Last year 80,000 Egyptians went on the hajj.
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