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Saudi Arabia imposes $2,665 fine on Hajj pilgrims without a permit 

Muslims, who came to the holy lands from all over the world, start their worship to fulfill the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on June 24, 2022. [Ashraf Amra - Anadolu Agency]
Muslims, who came to the holy lands from all over the world, start their worship to fulfill the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on June 24, 2022. [Ashraf Amra - Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia has announced that it will impose a $2,665 (10,000 riyals) fine against pilgrims attempting to perform the Hajj without a permit.

Yesterday the Public Security spokesperson, Brigadier General Sami Al-Shuwairekh, said that pilgrims must obtain a Hajj permit from the relevant authorities before attempting to undertake the pilgrimage, a fundamental pillar of the faith.

Al-Shuwairekh called on pilgrims to adhere to Hajj guidelines and stressed that security forces would "fulfil their duties" while being deployed inside all holy sites as well as roads leading to them to ensure there were no violations of the regulations.

He added that 19 people had been arrested for fraudulent advertisement of Hajj services.

The announcement comes amid new rules for obtaining Hajj visas, particularly for Muslims in the west who now have to apply through a government website instead of travel agents, however the move, described by some as a "lottery system", has been criticised due to expensive tiered packages and the impact on Muslim-run travel businesses who will likely go under as a result.

The online application portal, Motawif, has also controversially been linked to at least one investor, an Indian company affiliated with the Hindu-nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which has been complicit in rising Islamophobia in the country.

The kingdom has permitted over one million pilgrims from around the world to take part in this year's Hajj, the first time in two years of the pandemic, which limited the pilgrimage to citizens and residents of the country. Pre-pandemic, the annual Hajj would attract around 2.5 million Muslim participants.

READ: Saudi 'repress' dissident pilgrims: 'Hajj is not safe' campaign launched by rights groups

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Middle EastNewsSaudi Arabia
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