Hajj: Saudi Arabia Deserves Praise, Not Condemnation – IHR

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By; JABIRU A HASSAN,  Kano

Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR)  has said that it is aware of the challenges faced in this year’s Hajj exercise, owing to recent change of policy by Saudi Arabian authorities regarding service provision to the guests of AR Rahman.

These challenges raised a lot of issues by Hajj participating countries which were widely reported by the media, but   IHR in a statement signed by its national coordinator, Ibrahim Muhammed said, “It is sacrosanct that pilgrims deserve to be served commensurate to services paid for.

“However, serving over 2.3 million pilgrims by providing accommodation, transportation, feeding, medical services and guidance in the same place, at the same time requires multi departmental support and cooperation of all concerned.

The statement also said that most Hajj participating countries have blamed Saudi based services providers for the epileptic services rendered this year especially during the five days stay at Mashaer.  

“While, we acknowledge the grievances, we must also acknowledge that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia deserves commendation for her efforts in catering for increased demands of providing basic services for pilgrims all year round. 

“Every year, officials at the Kingdom under the able leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bn Abdulaziz and the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed Bn Salman, put on their thinking caps and design policies that will make Hajj better than previous years’.   

“They always undertake review of the immediate past Hajj operation and identify all areas of challenges and then come up with policies that will address these challenges, that is why countries witness new policies almost every year, it is aimed at making the Hajj easier and better for the guests of Allah. 

“5- to 10 per cent service failure does not amount to total failure deserving of complete condemnation,” IHR said.  More importantly, the Kingdom indirectly admitted this year’s operational lapses when for the first time, the Minister of Hajj and Umrah released the 2024 hajj calendar of event a week after 2023 hajj – subjecting the allotment of tents to first to be ready basis. 

The CSO also said there is probably no country in the world that can do what the Saudis are doing regarding the running of Hajj and Umrah, adding “We ask Allah SWT to continue to bless them and give them more wisdom and energy to continue serving his guests in the best way possible.  

“Finally, we wish to recommend that authorities in the Kingdom consider carrying along Hajj participating countries while planning for upcoming Hajj operations. Opinions of Hajj participating countries should be sought and considered while designing policies that will be implemented by them eventually,” IHR said.

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