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Mecca_Live hashtag sweeps social media

Instant messaging service live streams scenes from Mecca during one of Islam's holiest days to an overwhelming response
More than a million people have tweeted using the hashtag for holiest day of Ramadan

Non-Muslims have been given a rare insight into one of the holiest places in Islam during Ramadan thanks to a photo-sharing service.

Instant picture messaging app Snapchat, which has more than 100 million daily active users, decided to use its live-streaming feature to show its followers scenes from Mecca on one of the holiest days of the Muslim calendar, Lailat al Qadr (the Night of Power).

The day is considered to be the most auspicious time to pray for forgiveness when thousands gather in the holy city, the epicentre of Islam, during the last days of Ramadan.

Muslims have sent short videos and images from Mecca, using the hashtag "mecca_live".

Snapchat’s "Live Story" feature then combines the best contributions into mini-packages and releases them to its users.

On Monday alone, more than a million people tweeted using #mecca_live.

The response from most Muslims was one of thanks, with many saying it was a rare instance of casting Islam in a positive light.

Many non-Muslims commented on the beauty of Mecca, which is off limits to non-Muslims.

There were even people saying they wanted to convert to Islam after the event.