World Bulletin / News Desk
Saudi Arabia has barred Syrians from entering the country to perform the annual Muslim hajj pilgrimage, Syrian state media said on Tuesday.
"The Syrian High Committee of hajj has announced the halt to the pilgrimage this year, due to a failure to reach consensus with the Saudi authorities," the official Sana news agency reported.
The Syrian committee "took all necessary steps for the 2012 hajj season, but the relevant ministry in Saudi Arabia did not sign the accord as it does every year," Sana said.
The hajj to Mecca - the world's largest annual human assembly - is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all those Muslims who are able to.