Tough economy forces many US Muslims delay hajj

Tough economic times in the United States is having an effect on American Muslims looking to perform the pilgrimage of Hajj. Many report that saving up money to make the trip is becoming difficult, as some have even weighed taking out loans – but Hajj is not supposed to be a huge financial burden for the faithful. Nair Al-Jubeir, spokesperson for the Saudi Arabian embassy said that 11,801 visas have bee issued this year for those wishing to make the pilgrimage – down nearly 2,000 from last year. Travel agents also report that the economy has taken a toll. An agent in New Jersey specializing in Hajj packages says that the economic crisis has resulted in a nearly 40 percent drop this year.