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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Rights Organisations Urge UN to Address Qatar’s Politicisation of the Hajj


Lamis ElSharqawy

Sat, 11 May 2019 18:27 GMT

As soon as there is the start of the Islamic pilgrimage (Hajj) season, three international human rights organisations will address the United Nations and the European Parliament over Qatar preventing its citizens from performing this religious rite, because of a political dispute with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the Hajj, or pilgrimage, is performed.

The Hajj is the fifth pillar of the Islamic religion and refers to the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, a pilgrimage which Muslims are expected to make at least once in their lifetime. The Hajj season will start on August 9th and will go on till August 14th.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has confirmed that it has facilitated and removed all obstacles to enable global Muslims to perform Hajj or Umrah. Meanwhile, Qatar insists on exacerbating the situation by closing borders to prevent Qatari pilgrims from travelling to Saudi Arabia.

The Arab Organisation for Human Rights, in the United Kingdom, the African Organisation for Culture and Human Rights, and the Gulf Association for Rights and Freedoms, have filed complaints to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the European Parliament, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to protest against the Qatari regime‚Äôs violation of freedom of worship, and putting obstacles in the way to prevent its citizens from performing Hajj or Umrah. 

In a joint statement, the three organisations have all urged the UN human rights bodies, and the EU to focus on Qatar's violation of freedom to worship. 

In June 2017, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, all cut off their diplomatic relations with Qatar, boycotting it as it continued to support terrorism. Before that, the four countries urged Qatar to stop funding terrorism, and terrorist movements, and to stop interfering with the internal affairs of countries in the region. 

However, the Qatari regime has not stopped funding terrorist movements. The four countries have also all imposed measures boycotting the Qatari government.

And Doha tried to politicise the Hajj by punishing its citizens who want to do the pilgrimage, by blocking the Saudi online portal allocated by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, for registration.  

In contrast, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday, May 7th that it welcomed Qataris who seek to perform the Umrah. 

The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah explained that worshippers are required to register information on a website for Qatari travellers. They will then be required to travel through either the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah or Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Medina.

Middle East