QATAR REBUTS SAUDI’S CLAIM ABOUT INTERNATIONALISING HAJJ PILGRIMAGE

Qatar, on Monday, rebutted Saudi Arabian’s accusations that it is internationalising the Hajj pilgrimage amid a continued Gulf standoff.

In an interview with the TV channel, Al Jazeera, Qatari Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, said, there has been no suggestion by any Qatari official about internationalising the pilgrimage issue.

“It was Saudi Arabia trying to politicise the Hajj pilgrimage amid the Gulf crisis,” he said.

He was responding to the remarks by Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, who warned, in Manama, Bahrain, that, Qatar’s attempt to politicise the Hajj pilgrimage, is a “declaration of war” against the kingdom.

“We reserve the right to respond to anyone who is working on the internationalisation of the holy sites,” al-Jubeir said, after meeting with three counterparts from the Saudi-led quartet, that are boycotting Qatar.

He reiterated that Qatari pilgrims were welcome to visit Saudi to perform the Hajj pilgrimage.

Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to the holiest Islamic city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, by hundreds of thousands of Muslims from around the world. This year’s Hajj will start from late Aug and last till early Sept.

Although Qatari pilgrims are allowed to perform the Hajj, they do face some restrictions imposed by the Saudi government, as part of its blockade on Qatar.

Qatari pilgrims can only enter the kingdom via two designated airports: King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah and Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Airport in Medina. And they can travel to Saudi on any flights, except the ones operated by Qatar Airways.

Qatar’s Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs has accused Riyadh of politicising Hajj by imposing those restrictions, saying, these measures are designed to set obstacles for the pilgrims from Qatar to Mecca.

The Saudi-led Arab quartet, cut their diplomatic ties with Qatar on Jun 5, and imposed a blockade on the rich tiny Gulf nation, citing its support for terrorism and extremism, interference in their internal affairs and seeking closer ties with Iran, a rival for most Gulf nations.

The quartet’s foreign ministers said, after meeting in Manama, that, they were ready for talks with Doha, on condition that it meets their demands, including stopping funding of terrorism and ending interference in their domestic affairs

Source: NAM News Network