DOHA, Qatar has denied accusations it is preventing its citizens from performing the Hajj, or yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, the peninsular nation’s official QNA news agency said.

Authorities at the ministry of religious affairs refuted on Wednesday claims that Doha was preventing Qatari nationals from going to Mecca for the yearly ritual.

The ministry lamented the use of Hajj – the completion of which constitutes one of Islam’s five requirements – for political ends and said it was in contact with Saudi authorities to eliminate all obstacles for Qatari nationals and residents willing to partake in this year’s event, set to begin on Aug 19.

The governor of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia for his part said on Wednesday that Qatari pilgrims have yet to arrive.

“No pilgrims from Qatar arrived until today,” Governor Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud said.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar in June 2017. Qatari citizens were subsequently given 14 days to leave Saudi, the UAE and Bahrain.

In addition to Egypt, the three Gulf countries accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilising the region, allegations that Doha has consistently denied.

Source: NAM NEWS Network