Virtually Islamic Blog

Gary R. Bunt

Hajj 2019/1440

A collection of links and resources associated with Hajj 2019/1440

#Hajj2019 and Hajj 1440 Twitter feeds
Seán McLoughlin, Mapping the UK’s Hajj Sector, University of Leeds "The website explores the context of Hajj-going in Britain, how it is organised and the experiences of British Muslims before, during and after their pilgrimages. Rather than an idealised account of the Hajj, it explores its lived realities, both spiritually inspired moments and more mundane and contested everyday experiences."
The report associated with Prof. McLoughlin's research is here (PDF). It looks very interesting.
The Print, Everything in Mecca gets 5 stars — online reviews of most holy sites are wildly inflated "Whether for Mecca, Haridwar, Jerusalem, Lumbini, the super high ratings mostly reflect past visitors’ spiritual experiences – not real-world practicalities." based on the research contained in: Tom van Laer & Elif Izberk-Bilgin, A discourse analysis of pilgrimage reviews, +Journal of Marketing Management, Pages 586-604
Arab News, Ministers launch new and enhanced Hajj and Umrah services"In a first at the holy sites, Internet of Things technology has been implemented. It consists of six transmitting stations and 350 sensors places throughout Mina and at the Jamrat bridge. This network will gather and analyze data about overcrowding and the movement of pilgrims. Crowds and movement will also be monitored by a network of high-definition cameras. The data that is collected by these systems will be analyzed at a dedicated monitoring center."
Zawya, Saudi Arabia praised for keeping millions connected during Haj "A senior official from the Internet Society, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the internet, congratulated the ministry and the industry regulator for the incredible achievement of providing reliable connectivity to the millions of pilgrims who visit the country each year."
Arab News, Saudi forum reveals smart technologies used to enhance pilgrims’ Hajj experience "Assistant professor of AI at Umm Al-Qura University, Tahani Al-Subait, told Arab News that based on the data gathered to date new smart apps were being developed to serve pilgrims.
“We can create applications in all fields, like health, security, entertainment, traffic, movement of people, etc. AI can be utilized in everything you can imagine. I can’t imagine there is a field where AI cannot be used,” she said."
And from earlier this year: Saudi Gazette, From smart systems to e-tracking, Haj goes high-tech this year, 20 June 2019 "Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Haj and Umrah is rolling out a bundle of smart systems to facilitate the travel of pilgrims from around the world and ensure that the rituals are performed with ease.
"This includes an integrated electronic tracking system for the external pilgrims, which applies from the initiation of contracts on housing, transportation, and catering until the pilgrims depart from the Kingdom."
Salaam Gateway, Indonesia ministry of religious affairs developing online umrah marketplace "Indonesia’s ministry of religious affairs is developing an online umrah marketplace to provide would-be pilgrims with a safer, more secure booking process."
There's more on hajj and digital concerns in Hashtag Islam. Also check out my ‘Decoding the Hajj in Cyberspace’ chapter in The Hajj: Pilgrimage in Islam. Eric Taglicozzo and Shawkat M. Toorawa (editors) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015)

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