MANAMA: Qatar was yesterday condemned for preventing its citizens from travelling to Saudi Arabia to perform the Haj.
It is more keen on its teams’ participation in sporting events in Saudi Arabia than its people performing the fifth pillar of Islam – the Haj, Information Affairs Minister Ali Al Rumaihi said in an interview with Al Sharq Al Awsat newspaper yesterday.
“The Qatari regime has been committed to participating in a number of sports events in Jeddah, Abu Dhabi and Manama, and has used non-Qatari aircraft to transport its sports teams there, but prevents its people from performing the holy pilgrimage, using Qatar Airways as a mere pretext to carry on its deplorable attempts to politicise Haj.”
The minister emphasised that such “a flagrant step is no longer accepted by the brotherly Qatari people, whose citizens are proud of Islam, their Arab identity and their close relations with sisterly Saudi Arabia”.
He praised tremendous efforts by Saudi to ensure the success of the Haj season every year. Both the Arab and Muslim nations are proud of this extraordinary success story, Mr Al Rumaihi said.
Meanwhile, Ports Security director general, Supreme Haj or Umrah Committee member and head of the Haj’s security panel Brigadier Maher Buali yesterday said the committee has begun visits to inspects tents in Mina and Arafah to ensure the safety of pilgrims in the holy cities.
The committee has also regulated the entry of Bahraini vehicles and buses and met the managers of Haj caravans to inform them of traffic rules and transportation of pilgrims.