Qatar Haj pilgrims stranded in Saudi Arabia

November 15, 2010

Several Qatar-based pilgrims have been stranded in Saudi Arabia after they were refused entry into the residential camps in Mina.

The pilgrims – who signed up late for pilgrimage registration – were granted Saudi visas, but could no longer be accommodated for the Mina arrangements.

Mina, on the road from Makkah to Mount Arafat, is where pilgrims spend at least four days and perform the symbolic “stoning of the devil” and make the ritual sacrifice of an animal, usually a lamb.

According to Qatari media, the stranded pilgrims are part of a group of some 8,000 people from different countries who have been prevented by their respective Haj operators from access to camps in Mina.

However, Qatar’s Haj Committee, which has representatives in Saudi Arabia, denied it has asked Haj operators from Qatar not to permit some pilgrims into Mina since camping arrangements had not been made for them.

Qatari daily Asharq quoted a pilgrim from Qatar as saying that he had been warned by his operator that if he entered Mina he would be doing so at his own risk.

He also claimed that he had been told by the operator that if he entered Mina he could be arrested.

He said that he and other stranded pilgrims had already paid 3,000 Qatari riyals to their operators for camping facilities in Mina, Qatari newspaper The Peninsulareported on Monday.

Saudi authorities had at the last moment raised Qatar’s quota for Haj pilgrims to more than 9,000 from an initial 1,500.

All expatriate pilgrims in Qatar must go through operators to perform the pilgrimage, while Qatari nationals must register with the Haj Committee.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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