hajj pilgrimage

Indonesia cancels hajj pilgrimage again due to coronavirus concerns

Reuters
Indonesia cancels hajj pilgrimage again due to coronavirus concerns

In this file photo, people ride motorcycles on the first day of a national travel ban as Indonesia halts sea, land, air, and rail travel from May 6 to 17 for the Eid al-Fitr celebrations in an effort to prevent a large-scale transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic in Bandung, West Java Province, Indonesia, on May 6, 2021.

Antara Foto/Raisan Al Farisi/via Reuters

For many Indonesians, the religious pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime event, with the average wait time 20 years due to a quota system

Indonesia has canceled the hajj pilgrimage for people in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation for a second year in a row due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, the religious affairs minister said on Thursday, June 3.

For many Indonesians, the religious pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime event, with the average wait time 20 years due to a quota system, according to the country’s cabinet secretariat.

“Due to the pandemic and for the safety of the pilgrims, the government has decided that this year it won’t allow Indonesian pilgrims to go again,” Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said in a statement.

Yaqut said Saudi Arabia had not opened access to the hajj.

“It’s not just Indonesia…no countries have received quotas, because the memorandum of understanding has not been signed,” he said, adding that pilgrims who had paid hajj fees will be pilgrims next year.

Saudi Arabia has lifted a ban on travelers arriving from 11 countries that it imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, the Saudi state news agency said on Saturday, May 29, but will still require quarantine procedures.

Before the pandemic enforced social distancing globally, some 2.5 million pilgrims used to visit the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the week-long hajj, and the lesser, year-round umrah pilgrimage, which altogether earned the kingdom about $12 billion a year, according to official data. – Rappler.com

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