For this year’s hajj, Muslims in the French army who will go on the journey to Saudi Arabia will not have to travel on private commercial flights with ordinary civilians. In a break from tradition, the Defense Ministry will provide its Muslim soldiers a plane to fly them and organize their stay.
The new hajj journey is the first to be sponsored by the army for Muslim personnel. In its history the army has sponsored annual trips for its soldiers to Catholic shrines in Lourdes with its long history of bonds with the Catholic Church. Soldiers and officers willing to embark on the hajj journey next November would pay about €3,000, an amount less than most private travel agencies.