Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has sponsored 2,000 relatives of Yemeni soldiers killed in action to perform the Islamic pilgrimage of Hajj, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Twitter on Sunday.
The decision came as part of The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques' Hosting Program, which is run by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah, and Guidance annually.
According to the ministry, the decision to sponsor the pilgrimage for the martyrs’ relatives is in recognition of the sacrifices the martyrs made to protect Yemen and an opportunity for the Kingdom to continue to support its neighbors and ease their suffering.
The invitation has been extended to relatives of soldiers from the Yemeni national army and members of the Popular Resistance, which is also known as the “popular resistance committees” and made up of tribesmen who have been fighting against the Houthis in Yemen.
The program recently sponsored 200 relatives of victims of the Christchurch mosque attack to perform Hajj in the Kingdom. The Minister of Islamic Affairs Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz al-Sheikh said that the families were invited as part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to counter terrorism and support the families of those who were affected by the “abominable act that is contrary to all divine teachings and human values and principles.”
During the ritual pilgrimage of Hajj – the fifth pillar of Islam – Muslims embark on a journey that begins in Mecca and continues to different cities in its vicinity. It is a mandatory religious duty for all Muslims who have the physical and financial ability to do so.