Mecca Pilgrimage – Serious Security Challenge

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Saudi Arabia has been coping with complex public safety challenges. The Saudi Government is hosting the Hajj, the largest worship procession, gathering three million Muslims from throughout the world. The three million worshipers will move together from one place to another through very small areas, compared to the size of the crowds. Managing the pilgrimage and ensuring that the entire procession is run smoothly, while guaranteeing that all pilgrims are safe and comfortable, is a major challenge for the Saudi Government.

Since the conditions during the Hajj and its management are unique, a special crowd management system was put to place in the two Holy Cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina, using the latest technology.

According to the Chief of the Hajj and Umrah Security Forces, Maj. Gen. Muhammad bin Wasl Al-Ahmadi, the mission of monitoring and controlling the crowds, as carried out by the Hajj and Umrah security forces, is supported by thousands of cameras installed at every point in the Grand Mosque complex and at other pilgrimage sites in Mecca.

The monitoring activities are carried out 24 hours per day from the operating control room. The Special Forces are well-trained to handle all types of emergencies and risks that can occur at any time.

The head of the Grand Mosque`s Special Security Forces, Maj. Gen. Abdullah bin Mohammad Al-Aseemi, stressed that the most crucial problem in the movement of pilgrims occurs when pilgrims stop, even for a few seconds. “Therefore, our mission is to control the speed of the movement of pilgrims by paying attention to every detail at each point, including at every entrance to the mosque,” he said. If there was a back-up at any point, then within seconds the Special Forces would arrive at the location and take over the management of the crowds.

At the control center, the Special Forces monitor the worshipers and prevent potential accidents, according to

With the increasing number of pilgrims each year, the Special Security Forces in the Grand Mosque also has the task of helping disabled and elderly pilgrims.