The virtual world offers a new type of hajj (Image: APAImages/REX Shutterstock)
The horrific stampede during last month’s hajj has renewed concerns about safety at this annual five-day pilgrimage for Muslims.
A combination of confusion and crowds rushing to complete rituals in Mecca, Saudi Arabia,, with that the toll could be much higher. Considered the world’s largest yearly gathering, pilgrim numbers have topped 2 million a year in the past decade.
One way of avoiding the crush is to take a virtual hajj. Some criticise digital simulations as offering a sanitised experience free from the push of crowds, heat and cross-cultural challenges that many encounter as first-time visitors to the Middle East. But others suggest that it could serve to better prepare attendees, and that some Muslims could even view it as an unofficial substitute.
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