Middle East

Women set off on haj in Mecca as male ‘guardian’ rule cast aside

Bushra Shah, a 35-year-old Pakistani, says she is realising a childhood dream by making the great pilgrimage to Mecca, and under new rules she’s doing it without a male “guardian”.The haj ministry has officially allowed women of all ages to make the pilgrimage without a male relative, known as a mehrem, on the condition that they go in a group.The decision is part of social reforms rolled out by de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is trying to shake off the kingdom’s austere…


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