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Saudi official rejects politicisation of Hajj

A prospective pilgrim woman prays as she waits to cross Rafah border crossing before moving forward to the Muslims' Holiest city of Mecca of Saudi Arabia for making a pilgrimage, in Rafah, Gaza on 14 August, 2017 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]
A prospective pilgrim woman prays as she waits to cross Rafah border crossing before moving forward to the Muslims' Holiest city of Mecca of Saudi Arabia for making a pilgrimage, in Rafah, Gaza on 14 August, 2017 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the Arab League, Ahmed Qattan, reiterated on Tuesday his country’s rejection of efforts to “politicise and internationalise” the annual Hajj — pilgrimage — which is a pillar of the Islamic faith. “Attempts to promote internationalisation of the Holy Places of Makkah and Madinah are a dangerous conspiracy,” Qattan said on Twitter.

According to the ambassador, such attempts reveal how some countries follow Iran which, he claimed, has been trying to promote these “malicious and miserable” proposals. “I say to all those who try to raise this issue from time to time: get back to your senses.”

The Saudi official warned that the politicisation and internationalisation of holy sites is a red line, and playing with fire. “All attempts to do so are political suicide,” Qattan suggested. He explained that the whole world recognises the Kingdom’s great efforts to serve Muslim pilgrims.

The Saudi authorities held a preliminary meeting in January to review the plans in preparation for this year’s Hajj season. In recent years, Iran has raised the issue of “solving the administration issue” of the Hajj, which Saudi Arabia has categorically rejected.

Read: Saudi king offers to host Qatar pilgrims at own expense

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