Pilgrims Use Wi-Fi at Hajj for First Time

Wireless routers set up at 70 holy sites for ancient Islamic ritual
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2007 3:06 PM CST
Muslim pilgrims perform the ritual "stoning of the devil" in Mina, in Saudi Arabia, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007. Thousands of Muslim pilgrims throw pebbles at the stone pillars representing the devil as a...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Muslim pilgrims had free access to Wi-Fi for the first time during the Hajj, which ended yesterday in Saudi Arabia. The short-term service, provided by two telecom firms, had 70 access points around holy sites and took only two months to assemble. Pilgrims say that online access helped them seek guidance without tracking down busy muftis, or legal experts, for information on Hajj rites, Wi-Fi Planet reports.

“Instead of running after one mufti to another for Hajj counseling, I preferred to log on to www.IslamiCity.com, which provided answers to all my queries,” a pilgrim told Arab News. But not everyone was convinced: “I never consult web services at this time because Hajj is a worship season,” one worshiper said. An estimated three million pilgrims participated in the Hajj this year.