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Quota restricts non-Emiratis from going on Haj starting this year

GDN Online Desk

Muslim residents living in the UAE will not be able perform the pilgrimage starting this year, the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments announced reported Albayan newspaper.

The Saudi Ministry of Haj and Omra announced that pilgrimage permits would be issued to nationals only.

Hajj and Omra director Rashid Al-Mazroue issued a circular instructing all pilgrimage contractors to comply with the new Saudi regulations.

Under the Saudi haj quota system, 6228 Emiratis can perform the pilgrimage.

According o a report in the Gulf News, Dr Ahmad Al Mousa, spokesman of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments said that the move means that only citizens of the UAE will be issued Haj permits to perform the pilgrimage this year and in the future. He added that the Saudi move was applicable to all countries across the world. As such only citizens of each country will be issued Haj permits, which will be counted towards their country’s Haj quota.

Earlier this year, in January, Saudi Arabia said it will  increase Haj quotas this year, after the number of pilgrims hit a 10-year low last year.

The number of pilgrims will be gradually increased and restored to what it was five years ago, according to an official statement.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia has imposed a 20 percent cut in the quota for foreign pilgrims, and a 50 percent cut for domestic pilgrims, to ensure safety during the expansion of the Grand Mosque.

In 2016, 1,325,372 foreign and 537,537 domestic pilgrims performed Haj, making a total of 1,862,909 pilgrims. This was the lowest number of pilgrims recorded in the last 10 years.

According to reports, more than 2.4 million Muslims performed the Haj pilgrimage in 2007.