(Reuters) Qatar has accused Saudi Arabia of barring its citizens from this year’s haj, something Riyadh denies, saying a diplomatic dispute is not stopping Qataris from making the pilgrimage to Mecca.

FILE PHOTO: Muslim pilgrims attend Friday prayer at the Grand mosque ahead of annual Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia August 17, 2018. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
Although 1,200 Qataris are eligible to perform the haj under a quota system, Qatar says it has become impossible to get permits, blaming the campaign by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to cut trade and diplomatic ties with the country.

Abdullah Al-Kaabi of the state-run Qatar National Human Rights Committee said Saudi Arabia had shut down an electronic system used by travel agencies to obtain permits for pilgrims from Qatar.

“There is no chance this year for Qatari citizens and residents to travel for haj,” he told Reuters. “Registration of pilgrims from the State of Qatar remains closed, and residents of Qatar cannot be granted visas as there are no diplomatic missions.”

A Saudi official said Qatar had blocked several registration links set up for its pilgrims.

An official at Saudi Arabia’s haj ministry said a group of Qataris had arrived for the pilgrimage which runs from Sunday to Aug. 24, but he did not say how many there were or whether they had traveled directly from Qatar. Last year, 1,624 Qatari pilgrims attended, he said.

‘LOST MONEY’

Saudi Arabia says the Qatari government is using the issue for political ends and it “rejects any effort to politicize the haj or drag political differences” into the pilgrimage, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

ALSO READ  Iran not responding to Israeli attacks in Syria to avoid escalation

Saudi Arabia, and the three other Arab countries, closed land, air and sea links with Qatar in June last year, accusing it of funding terrorism, something Doha denies.

Saudi Arabia has said Qatari pilgrims can arrive on any airline other than Qatar Airways.

But three travel agencies in Doha told Reuters they had stopped trying to sell haj packages, which can cost up to 120,000 riyals ($33,000).

“Last year we lost a lot of money as the crisis started after we had booked everything in Mecca and Medina and we had to pay people back,” said a manager of one travel agency in Doha, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“This year, nobody is really trying as people have understood there is no way to go there in these circumstances.”

Riyadh temporarily opened the land border for the haj last year, but not this time. A travel agency catering to migrant laborers in Doha said that had hit business.

“We sell haj journeys by bus with accommodation for around 12,000 riyals,” its manager said. “But as nobody can get visas and land borders are closed, it is zero bookings this year.”

The diplomatic crisis has defied mediation efforts by the United States, which has strong alliances with both sides and fears the split among its Sunni Muslim allies could benefit Shi’ite Iran.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are involved in proxy wars, including in Yemen and Syria, and tensions between the two have spilled over into the haj in the past.

ALSO READ  Breaking: Houthi forces launch ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia

In 2016, Iran boycotted the haj over security concerns after hundreds of people were killed in a crush there. Iranian pilgrims returned in 2017.

Advertisements
Share this article:
  • 21
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    21
    Shares

Notice: All comments represent the view of the commenter and not necessarily the views of AMN.

All comments that are not spam or wholly inappropriate are approved, we do not sort out opinions or points of view that are different from ours.

This is a Civilized Place for Public Discussion

Please treat this discussion with the same respect you would a public park. We, too, are a shared community resource — a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation.

These are not hard and fast rules, merely guidelines to aid the human judgment of our community and keep this a clean and well-lighted place for civilized public discourse.

Improve the Discussion

Help us make this a great place for discussion by always working to improve the discussion in some way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.

The topics discussed here matter to us, and we want you to act as if they matter to you, too. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.

Be Agreeable, Even When You Disagree

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But remember to criticize ideas, not people. Please avoid:

  • Name-calling
  • Ad hominem attacks
  • Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content
  • Knee-jerk contradiction

Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
n.md.148
Guest
n.md.148

xio wahabbis are investing in sins

Daeshbags Sux
Member
Master
Upvoted
Rookie Mentor
Commenter
Daeshbags Sux

Don’t worry :
“Verily Islam started as something strange and it would again revert (to its old position) of being strange just as it started, and it would recede between the two mosques just as the serpent crawls back into its hole.”
– Sahih Muslim Book 001, Hadith #0271

Daeshbags Sux
Member
Master
Upvoted
Rookie Mentor
Commenter
Daeshbags Sux

Considering the invests and shenanigans Qatar did to get world cup in 2022, Qatar is more interested in Football than Hajj. Might be the 1st time Qatar chooses the right thing to do if they sell beer and (100% pure pork) sausages since Football, beer and sausages (and a good fight between Brit and Russian hooligans after the match) are far more important than fairy tales from a schizophrenic Bedouin living 1400 years ago 🙂 Nevertheless, disputes between the corrupted al-Thani regime and the corrupted al-Saoud regime about something as dumb as religion are absolutely laughable. Even would corrupted Khamenei… Read more »