Qatar has accused Saudi Arabia of denying its hajj pilgrims visas for the third year in a row.
Qatari newspaper Al-Raya on Saturday condemned the Saudi authorities’ “continued denial of Qatar’s pilgrims’ right to perform hajj.”
Al-Raya said that Saudi Arabia is trying to distract attention from the truth with false claims while it is fully aware that all the obstacles it has put before Qatar’s pilgrims are still in place.
The paper noted that the land port is still closed to Qatari citizens and residents of low income or who cannot travel by air. Meanwhile, aircraft carrying pilgrims from Doha to Jeddah is still forbidden, in addition to the absence of a clear mechanism for the issuance of hajj visas for the residents of Qatar.
“Saudi Arabia bears full responsibility in the repeated prohibition of Qatari citizens and residents from performing hajj, and its insistence on putting obstacles and preventing the hajj campaigns from entering the country,” Al-Raya stressed.
But despite Qatar’s continued insistence that its citizens and residents are being denied hajj visas, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah says the opposite is true.
Riyadh says it has created a new webpage for Qataris who wish to perform the pilgrimage this year. It says Qatari hajj pilgrims can register their details, browse packages and pay for them at: qatar1440.haj.gov.sa
The ministry called on Qatar not to block the webpage and said that Doha’s attempts to politicise the pilgrimage will not discourage the Kingdom from providing facilities to Qatari pilgrims.
It added that Saudi Arabia continues to facilitate the arrival of Qatari pilgrims who wish to perform hajj.