Fingerprints to be required for hajj

Nov. 16, 2012 at 3:29 PM

MOSCOW, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabian authorities next year will require all hajj pilgrims to be fingerprinted, a Russian official said Friday.

Fingerprinting is being introduced because the Saudi authorities have decided to give priority to first-time pilgrims, prompting a need for special security arrangements, RIA Novosti reported.

"A centralized data base on pilgrims from all over the world will be created," said Ilyas Umakhanov, Russia's deputy Federation Council speaker and the government's point man for religious affairs.

Russia earlier received an official note from Saudi Arabia saying visas will no longer be issued without fingerprinting.

Umakhanov said he did not quite understand what the fingerprinting procedure will involve.

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