Fri 23 July 2021:
Mona opted to join the military after being inspired by her late father’s job. She is part of the first squad of Saudi women soldiers to work in Islam’s holiest places, where they are assisting in the security of the Hajj yearly pilgrimage.
Since April, dozens of female soldiers have become part of the security services that monitor pilgrims in Mecca and Medina, the birth places of Islam.
In a significant stride towards women empowerment, dozens of female soldiers have become a part of the security services that monitor pilgrims in Mecca and Medina, the birthplaces of Islam.
For the first time, Saudi female soldiers are standing guard in Mecca as thousands of Muslim pilgrims take part in this year’s hajj, Deutsche Welle reported.
“I am following the steps of my late father to complete his journey, standing here at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the holiest place. To serve the worshippers is a very noble and honorable task,” said Mona, who declined to give her family name.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed through social and economic reforms as part of plans to modernize the conservative Muslim kingdom and attract foreign investment under a diversification drive.
Under his reform plan, known as Vision 2030, the crown prince lifted a driving ban on women, allowed adult women to travel without permission from guardians and granted them more control over family matters.
Samar, another soldier watching pilgrims near the Kaaba, a cube-shaped structure that Muslims believe was built by Abraham, said she was encouraged by her family to join the military, after psychology studies.
“This is a huge accomplishment for us and it is the biggest pride to be in the service of religion, the country and the guests of God, the most merciful,” she said.
The Hajj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, will conclude with the Eid al-Adha celebrations.
According to Al Jazeera, 10,000 vaccinated Muslim pilgrims circled Islam’s holiest site in Mecca on Sunday but remained socially distanced and wore masks as the coronavirus takes its toll on the Hajj for a second year running.
Previously drawing some 2.5 million Muslims from all walks of life from across the globe, the Hajj pilgrimage is now almost unrecognisable in scale.
This year, 60,000 vaccinated citizens or residents of Saudi Arabia have been allowed to perform the Hajj due to continued concerns around the spread of the coronavirus.
Photo: Saudi police women, who are recently deployed to the service, stand alert in front of the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca. (AP)
FOLLOW INDEPENDENT PRESS:
TWITTER (CLICK HERE)
FACEBOOK (CLICK HERE)
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!