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Guests of GodPilgrimage and Politics in the Islamic World$
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Robert R. Bianchi

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195171075

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195171071.001.0001

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(p.3) Introduction
Guests of God

Robert R. Bianchi (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The hajj has always had far-reaching political ramifications, but today, after a half century of sponsorship and regulation by governments around the world, it is more politicized than ever. In most countries, hajj administration is tainted with favoritism and corruption. All the major pilgrimage programs are explicitly tailored to benefit voting blocks and businesses at home while cultivating prestige and influence abroad. Frequently, pilgrim management is so politicized it subverts the central values of the hajj. Instead of promoting unity and equality, it divides Muslims along every conceivable line–ethnicity, language, class, party, region, sect, gender, and age.

Keywords:   pilgrim management, favoritism, voting blocks, corruption, equality, ethnicity, gender, region, sect, age

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