Russian Moslems head for Mecca

Over 1,200 pilgrims have passed through the checkpoints on Russia's southern border on their way to Saudi Arabia. The press service of the Russian Federal Frontier Service's North Caucasian Regional Headquarters announced the number of pilgrims making a hadj to Islamic shrines in Mecca has hit an all-time high this year. Border guards and customs clearance has been provided to the pilgrims, with no complaints about the border procedures filed. Muslims from all of Russia's North Caucasus republics may travel to Saudi Arabia. According to RIA Novosti, the Russian government this year allocated special funds to the government of the Chechen Republic to finance the pilgrimage.