Qatar ac­cuses Saudi Ara­bia of ham­per­ing Hajj of its na­tion­als

Muscat Daily - - NATION -

Doha, Qatar - The Qatari au­thor­i­ties have ac­cused Saudi Ara­bia of jeop­ar­dis­ing the an­nual Hajj pil­grim­age to Mecca of Qatari pil­grims by re­fus­ing to guar­an­tee their safety.

Saudi Ara­bia and its al­lies have been boy­cotting Qatar since June 5, ac­cus­ing it of back­ing ex­trem­ist groups and of ties to Shi­ite Iran, in the re­gion’s worst diplo­matic cri­sis in years.

On July 20, Riyadh said that Qataris want­ing to per­form this year’s Hajj would be al­lowed to en­ter the king­dom for the pil­grim­age, but im­posed cer­tain re­stric­tions.

The Saudi Hajj Min­istry said Qatari pil­grims ar­riv­ing by plane must use air­lines in agree­ment with Riyadh.

They would also need to get visas on ar­rival in Jed­dah or Me­d­ina, their sole points of en­try to the king­dom.

The Qatari Is­lamic Af­fairs Min­istry, in a state­ment pub­lished by the of­fi­cial QNA news agency on Sun­day, said the Saudi side had ‘re­fused to com­mu­ni­cate re­gard­ing se­cur­ing the pil­grims safety and fa­cil­i­tat­ing their Hajj’. The min­istry ac­cused Riyadh of ‘in­ter­twin­ing pol­i­tics with one of the pil­lars of Is­lam, which may re­sult in de­priv­ing many Mus­lims from per­form­ing this holy obli­ga­tion’.

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