SAUDI ARABIA

Mecca selfies anger conservative Muslims

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Since last Thursday, hundreds of thousands of Muslims flocked to Mecca for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Eager to immortalise their presence in this sacred place, many pilgrims have given in to taking selfies, angering advocates of religious orthodoxy in the process.

The golden rule: in the background, the selfie must feature Islam’s most important mosque, the cube-shaped Kaaba.

Caption: "Best place ever."

Caption: "My happiness … I wish we can go back in this holy place inshallah."

Caption: "At Masjid al Haram just close by Holy Kaaba. During my 4th trip to Mecca."

However, this practice is far from attracting unanimous support from Muslims. Saudi religious leaders in particular have criticised the trend, claiming that it goes against the spirit of the Hajj, a time when the faithful are supposed to show humility and devotion.

Saudi authorities forbid filming or photography in sacred places, especially in the sacred mosque of Mecca and the mosque of Medina. Pilgrims who take photos of themselves risk having their camera confiscated, or being refused access to the mosque - though the threats don’t seem to be particularly dissuasive.