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Al-Haramain Watch receives complaints from Malaysia over Hajj quota

April 3, 2018 at 12:11 pm

Muslim Hajj pilgrims try to touch Kaaba stone as they circumambulate around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest site, located in the center of the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on 22 August, 2017 [Fırat Yurdakul/Anadolu Agency]

The global monitoring organisation Al-Haramain Watch has received numerous complaints from Malaysian government officials and citizens after the kingdom closed the electronic registration programme for this year’s Hajj season before the agreed closing date, denying many Malaysian Muslims from performing Hajj.

Al-Haramain Watch was established in 2018 with the aim of exerting pressure on Saudi Arabia to ensure the kingdom’s good management of holy sites and the non-politicisation of the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.

Saudi authorities justified their position saying there are no places to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims from Malaysia.

Read: Saudi official rejects politicisation of Hajj

A source close to the Malaysian government said more than 3 million Malaysians applied to the Malaysian Pilgrims’ Management Fund pointing out that the Malaysian government has made several requests to Saudi authorities to increase the number of places for Malaysians, but Riyadh has repeatedly said it does not have any more places for Malaysian pilgrims.

One 73-year-old Malaysian citizen expressed anger at the Saudi authorities’ decision: “I do not know when my turn to perform pilgrimage will come. I have saved for Hajj for years, and I feel very angry because I am not allowed to perform Hajj”.

The international body called on Saudi authorities to increase Malaysia’s share of Hajj places and not to deprive Muslims from performing the holy ritual, especially the elderly. The Commission said Saudi Arabia should use its Islamic expertise in the management of Hajj and Umrah rituals.