Ministers of religious endowment and aviation at the airport during the press conference(Photo: Al-Ahram)
Egypt's minister of religious endowment announced on Thursday that political slogans won't be allowed during the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage and that any pilgrim who does so will be deported from Saudi Arabia.
Minister Mokhtar Gomaa also said that the pilgrimage delegation is fully collaborating with Saudi authorities. His comments were delivered at a press conference with the aviation minister as they bid farewell to the first flight of Egyptian pilgrims to Mecca on Thursday.
Last year's pilgrimage witnessed several incidents where Egyptians raised symbols and slogans in favour of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, despite warnings from Islamic clerics not to involve politics in religious rituals.
Egypt's pilgrimage delegation is organised and supervised by the government, which chooses thousands of Egyptians to travel to the holy Islamic sites in Saudi Arabia via a lottery system at subsidised prices.
Thousands of Egyptian pilgrims also make the trip at their own expense through private tourism companies.
Aviation Minister Hossam Kamal revealed that Egypt's official carrier EgyptAir is operating 254 flights for 57,000 pilgrims and that the airline has sent special delegations to airports in Jeddah and Medina to facilitate pilgrims' travel.
Kamal also said that each flight will have a doctor on board to check on the health condition of the pilgrims as well a passport officer to speed up the check in at customs.
Egyptians are expected to celebrate Eid Al-Adha on 4 October, which marks the annual Hajj, or Islamic pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.