Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

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SAUDI ARABIA: Technology and the hajj, Part 1

December 18, 2007 |  2:03 pm

The hajj is meant to be an escape from your everyday reality — a time to leave the material world behind, don humble pilgrims' robes and focus 100% on your relationship with God. But according to a front-page article in Thursday's Saudi Gazette, the material world will soon be whizzing through the air around Mecca's Grand Mosque.

Saudi authorities are establishing 70 different WiFi access points throughout the holy sites. WiFi Internet access will even be available inside the Grand Mosque. The spiritual implications of this move are still unclear, but we're expecting a fatwa any day now.

Blog Mapper: Tracking the hajj

— Ashraf Khalil in Mecca, Saudi Arabia