DUBAI/CAIRO -- As the Hajj pilgrimage ended this year on Sunday, the Saudi holy city of Mecca hosted only 1,000 visitors, according to the government. Normally the annual Islamic pilgrimage attracts around 2.5 million worshippers from around the world.
The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. All Muslims are required to visit Mecca at least once in their lifetimes. To accommodate the world's roughly 2 billion Muslims, the Saudi government typically issues Hajj visas according to national quotas. A lottery is used to select who makes the pilgrimage.