Qatar accuses Saudi Arabia of hampering Hajj of its nationals
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’.