Was it three million or only two million? This Asharq Alawsat piece notes that international media have been coming up with their own figures, but the Saudi Central Department of Statistics has put the number a just under two-and-a-half million.
Hajj Media Reports and Conflicting Figures
Ayman al Khaddaf
Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat – There have been a number of discrepancies within media reports on this yearâ€™s Hajj pilgrimage regarding the number of pilgrims taking part. The total number of pilgrims according to some media reports has reached three million. This issue has gained much attention from correspondents covering the religious event.
Despite that the Saudi Central Department of Statistics had announced Wednesday that the total number of pilgrims from this yearâ€™s Hajj reached 2,454,325, (1,707,814 from outside of Saudi Arabia and 746,511 from within the kingdom), a state of confusion within the media prevailed over the past few days.
In one Gulf newspaper, the headline read, â€œHere I am Lord, here I am: Repeated Three Million Pilgrims,â€ and this was the largest figure used in the media.
On one of the satellite channels, reporters differed over the number of pilgrims with one claiming that it exceeded two and a half million whilst another argued that there were no more than two million pilgrims.
This annual estimate of the total number of Hajj pilgrims is a statistical crisis for reporters with over 180 international, Arab and local media organizations within the holy areas. These organizations rely on official figures that are announced from the beginning of the pilgrimage until the day of â€œWoqoufâ€ [standing] on the plain of Mount Arafat that takes place on the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah and that signifies the completion of the pilgrimage.