Bahrain, Kuwait tell Haj operators to ensure compliance with directives
By Habib Toumi Bureau Chief
Published: 13:20 August 27, 2013
Manama: All Bahraini Haj (pilgrimage) operators have endorsed a written pledge not to politicise the annual rituals held in and around Makkah in western Saudi Arabia.
The pledge was based on agreements that ban the politicisation of the Haj season or its exploitation to engage in activities that are not related to the religious event, Shaikh Adnan Al Qattan, the head of the official Bahraini delegation to Haj, said.
“We urge all Haj operators to comply with the instructions and directives of both the Haj ministry in Saudi Arabia and the Justice and Islamic Affairs Ministry in Bahrain,” Al Qattan said.
Around three million Muslim men and women gather during the six-day Haj season expected to start in mid-October this year, based on the lunar calendar.
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly warned against using the congregation of Muslims to promote political, ideological or sectarian agendas.
This year, this situation is more tense than usual amid a growing number of confrontations between various segments of societies in several Arab countries, mainly Egypt and Syria, and there is concern that the gathering in Makkah could be used to serve agendas.
In Kuwait, Khalif Al Adhina, the assistant undersecretary for Haj, told Haj operators that Saudi Arabia would not tolerate the politicisation of the occasion.
All political slogans and activities should be avoided and pilgrims should focus on the religious and devotional dimensions of the Haj, the official said, local Arabic daily Al Rai reported on Tuesday.
“Saudi Arabia officials said that their country hosted millions of pilgrims every year and that they were fully ready to serve them,” he said. “However, they stressed that they would not hesitate to deal with any individual or group of people who wanted to politicise Haj.”