Hajj Pilgrimage in the Midst of the Arab Spring

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A Muslim pilgrim walks with his son along the road in the Mina valley three miles east of the Saudi Arabian holy city of Mecca during the Hajj, on November 14, 2010
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This weekend some 2.5 million people are expected to take part in this year's Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. But this year's pilgrimage takes place against the backdrop of the Arab Spring. The Saudi government has mobilized 100,000 defense personnel to prepare for the world's largest human assembly. The Saudis say the build-up is to avoid the deadly stampedes that have broken out in previous pilgrimages. But one can't help but wonder if the democracy movements in neighboring countries is a lingering factor as well. 

Akbhar AhmedIslamic studies chair at American University in Washington D.C, examines the implications of the Arab Spring and the Hajj for the Saudi Royal family.