Rabat – Moroccan minister of Awqaf (Islamic endowments) and Islamic affairs, Ahmed Taoufiq, said on Wednesday that a total of 26,000 Moroccans will perform pilgrimage this year.The minister told the press as the first group of pilgrims took off to the Muslim holy sites in Saudi Arabia, the pilgrims will be carried in 60 round-trip flights featured between September 10 (first departure) and October 27 (last return). He also recalled that Saudi authorities have maintained their decision to cut the number of Moroccan pilgrims, owing to ongoing extension works in the great Mosque in Mecca. He went on that all measures were taken to secure good conditions for the pilgrimage, citing in this regard instructions given by HM King Mohammed VI in the message addressed to the first group of pilgrims. “To this end, each year, I follow preparations for the pilgrimage with special interest, giving my instructions to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs to take whatever measures are needed for our citizens to perform Hajj in optimal conditions. They include organizing their stay in Mecca and Al-Madina, looking after them during their journey, providing them with the necessary religious guidance and reminding them of the proper behavior required during the performance of this important pillar of Islam, about which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “There is but one reward for an acceptable pilgrimage, and that is Paradise”, said the Sovereign.