Chicago Travel Agencies Notice Increase in Trips to Mecca

November 27, 2000

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

On November 27, 2000, the Chicago Sun Times reported that "many American Muslims are making the most of Ramadan coinciding with the holidays and school winter breaks this year by planning family trips to the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Chicago area travel agents who specialize in booking trips to Mecca say the number of reservations for late December pilgrimages, called umrah, are heavier than they've been in recent years. 'This year traffic for the umrah will be the highest of years that have gone and years to come,' said Sadiq Hussain, who has owned Discount Travel in Lombard for more than a decade...The umrah is different from the hajj, the special pilgrimage to Mecca every Muslim is required to make at least once in a lifetime during the month of Dhul-Hijja, which falls in March this year. An umrah can be done at any time of the year but is believed to bring special blessings if performed during Ramadan...Even with the cost of a 10-day trip to Mecca running about $ 1,500 per person, 'business is brisk,' said Sohail Khan, general manager of Sana Travel on Chicago's Far North Side."