Saudi comes up with solutions to woes faced by Western pilgrims

Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced that it will solve the problems facing pilgrims coming from the West— Europe, United States and Australia to perform Haj this year in the Kingdom.

This came after complaints about booking problems through the Motawif application, which Saudi Arabia launched as an alternative to travel agencies. 

On June 7, Saudi Arabia’s Haj ministry announced that western Muslims will now have to use a company delegated by Saudi Arabia called Motawif to enter a draw called “automated lottery” for the chance to book a place on the Haj list.

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The US Consulate in Saudi Arabia stated, through its Twitter account, on Wednesday, that “the Consul General and members of the consulate staff spoke with many Saudi ministries and authorities, and assured us all that they are working hard and around the clock to solve the problems faced by the pilgrims of the United States.”

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said it is “working to secure alternative flights and additional seats for pilgrims wishing to travel to Saudi Arabia from Britain, the United State of America and European countries”.

It further added, “Ensuring the immediate issuance of visas to enter the Kingdom. The Ministry is in regular contact with those affected by the limited seating capacity and the technical difficulties experienced by pilgrims using the electronic portal.”

The ministry said it is in constant contact with those pilgrims as part of a package of “urgent solutions to challenges” facing pilgrims including limited seating of flights and technical difficulties that have faced an electronic portal designated for overseas pilgrims.

The Haj is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world and is considered a religious duty that must be completed during the life of every healthy and affordable Muslim.

For this year’s Haj, one million worshipers will participate after it was curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the past two years. In 2019, about 2.5 million pilgrims participated.

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