The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs has called on the authorities in Saudi Arabia to remove obstacles facing citizens and residents of Qatar who wish to visit the holy sites to perform Umrah during the holy month of Ramadan or Haj as its season approaches.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the ministry also demanded that the Saudi authorities provide all facilities similar to those extended to other citizens of the GCC states and Arab and Islamic countries.
The ministry noted that direct flights from Doha to Jeddah are still not allowed, and that Saudi Arabia continues to close the only land border crossing which is used by people from Qatar who cannot travel by air and want to visit Al-Masjid Al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Makkah Al-Mukarramah.
The ministry pointed out that the Saudi authorities do not allow the Qatari Umrah and Haj campaigns to enter and obtain the necessary licences, which are available for Haj authorities of all other countries. This means that they cannot ensure the health and safety of pilgrims, which is a great challenge, especially in the case of women and the elderly persons and patients.
The ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs pointed to systematic media incitement against Qataris and the dangers that may ensue. The continuation of inflammatory media discourse against Qatar and Qataris may pose a threat to their safety, it added.
The ministry renewed its call on the Saudi authorities to review these discriminatory measures against Qatari citizens and residents, calling for a heightened sense of religious responsibility and non-politicisation of the religious rituals.
The Haj is a religious pilgrimage for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in a lifetime by all who are physically and fi nancially capable of undertaking the journey.
The event takes place once a year and culminates in the festival of Eid al-Adha, one of the two major Islamic holidays.
Saudi Arabia, alongside the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt, severed relations with Qatar in June 2017, and has placed the Gulf state under a land, sea, and air blockade.
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