JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is considering a ban on children below 10 years of age from performing the Haj next year, media reported Sunday.
The matter was discussed at a meeting held recently, which was attended by the heads of pilgrim establishments and the officials of the Haj ministry, Arab News reported citing Al Watan newspaper.
The ministry has observed that rising temperatures and large number of people during the annual pilgrimage put children at risk.
In addition, there is a great possibility of children catching infections.
The Haj ministry's field teams discovered hundreds of children, almost two-thirds of them under the age of six, at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and other holy sites during this year's Haj.
Many of these children had fallen ill from the rigorous strain imposed on them while performing Haj.
Diplomats from south Asian and southeast Asian countries feel the proposal has merit while pilgrims, who brought their children to Haj, said they had no one to take care of them at home.