Saudi Arabia stops 188,747 people without Hajj permits
At least 84,965 vehicles tried to illegally enter Makkah were stopped and 48 mini-buses carrying undocumented pilgrims were confiscated
As many as 188,747 people who attempted to enter Makkah without Hajj permits were turned back from various check points, Saudi Arabia’s Director of Makkah Police Maj. Gen. Saeed Al-Qarni has announced.
He said 84,965 vehicles trying to illegally enter Makkah were stopped from entering the city. A total of 48 mini-buses carrying undocumented pilgrims were confiscated.
Qarni said 22 fake Hajj campaigns were uncovered during regular inspections.
He said that 109 security centers have been set up in areas around Makkah to prevent the entry of people intending to perform Hajj illegally.
Meanwhile, a Hajj grand symposium was inaugurated in Makkah on Sunday under the title “Pilgrimage: Today and in the past.”
In his opening speech, Minister of Hajj and Umrah Muhammad Saleh Bentan said the symposium was aimed at deepening communications between scholars. “The Kingdom has always confirmed that Islam was a religion of tolerance, peace and moderation,” he said.
More than 200 Muslim scholars from Muslim countries all over the world and Muslim communities in Europe and America are participating in the annual event. Bentan asked the participants to enlighten their pilgrims about the correct methods of performing Hajj rituals.
Grand Mufti of Egypt Shawki Alam appreciated the Kingdom’s efforts in the expansion of the Two Holy Mosques and in providing the pilgrims with tangible services to enable them perform Hajj rites in ease, peace and comfort.
“What the Kingdom is doing for Islam and Muslims should be highly appreciated,” he added.
On the other hand, 14,000 out of 19,000 Yemeni pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom.
Yemeni Minister of Endowments and Guidance Fouad Omar Sheikh said the Kingdom has gracefully agreed to raise the quota of pilgrims from his country to 21,000.
“The Kingdom is hosting 1,500 additional Yemeni pilgrims who are not part of the Yemeni Hajj mission,” he said.
The minister said the Houthis have confiscated the funds and passports of a number of pilgrims to prevent them from performing Hajj. “The Kingdom’s strict measures have foiled an attempt by Houthis to politicize Hajj,” he said.
This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on Sept. 06, 2016.