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Harvard: Haj promotes tolerance
A study of Haj pilgrims by to think women are spiritually
Harvard Kennedy School in better than men, an increase
the US has found that the Haj of over 50 percent. They
promotes tolerance among also express greater concern
pilgrims and does not lead about women’s quality of life
to an increase in negative in Pakistan relative to other
attitudes toward the West. The countries and about crimes
study — entitled “Estimating against women in Pakistan,”
the Impact of the Haj: Religion the report stated.
and Tolerance in Islam’s Every year, more than 2.5
Global Gathering” — said million Muslims from nearly
that the annual pilgrimage 150 countries gather in
develops a tolerant attitude Makkah to perform the annual
among pilgrims toward other pilgrimage of Haj. “Pilgrims mix
religions and cultures. across the lines of ethnicity,
Researchers, David nationality, sect and gender
Clingingsmith, Asim Ijaz that divide them in everyday
Khwaja and Michael Kremer, in the survival of Islam as a to state that various Pakistani life, and affirm a common
based their findings, which unified world religion. “Over ethnic and sectarian groups identity by performing the same
were published last month, time, religions with far-flung are equal and that it is rituals and dressing in similar
on data collected from a adherents tend to evolve possible for such groups to garments that emphasize
2006 survey of more than separate strands which may live in harmony. Major findings their equality,” the researchers
1,600 Pakistani pilgrims. eventually break away into include that the Haj reduces said. The report added that
“Evidence suggests that the different religions. Our analysis support for political Islam, numerous pilgrim accounts
Haj increases tolerance, suggests that the Haj reduces reduces superstitious beliefs — including that of Malcolm X
which seems to apply not just dissent and splits in Islam by and encourages Muslims — lend weight to its findings
within the Islamic world but moving Haj pilgrims toward to adopt a more favorable that the Haj inspires feelings
also beyond it,” they reported, a common set of practices, attitude toward women, of unity with the worldwide
adding, that increased unity making them more tolerant of including greater acceptance Muslim community. The report
does not lead to antipathy differences among Muslims,” of women education and was commissioned after it was
toward non-Muslims. they said. employment. “For example, felt that the Haj could have
They also found that the Pilgrims selected for the they (Haj pilgrims) are six negative implications for non-
Haj plays a significant role survey were also more likely percentage points more likely Muslims.
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