Hajj pilgrimage streamed live by YouTube
Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 07-11-2011 This year's Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca is being streamed live for the first time following a tie up between Google's digital video platform YouTube and Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Culture and Information.
"Millions of people from around the world will be able to experience and comment on the event by tuning in via video," YouTube said in a blog post, announcing youtube.com/hajjlive.
The world's largest pilgrimage, which began on Friday (4 November), saw over two million Muslims leave for Mount Arafat where the prophet Mohammed is believed to have preached his final hajj sermon.
The ceremony commemorating the stoning of Satan yesterday (6 November) is followed by a "farewell visit" to the Kaaba, a structure which houses the Black Stone, Islam's most sacred relic.
The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be performed at least once in the lifetime of all Muslims who are able to make the journey.
Saudi Arabia is the guardian of both Mecca and Medina, the two holiest Muslim shrines.
Over 1.83 million pilgrims have travelled to the Kingdom from abroad; a 1.5% increase on 2010, said Prince Khaled al-Faisal, governor of Mecca. In addition, several hundred thousand Saudis and foreign residents have also been permitted to join them, he said.