Saudi Arabia's 'politicization' of Hajj should be part of US report: NHRC
As the third annual Islamic pilgrimage under the blockade draws near, the Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), Dr Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri has highlighted Saudi Arabia’s continued violation of the right to practice religious rites and the deliberate politicization of Hajj and Umrah.
During a meeting with US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, Dr Al Marri called for these violations to be included in the annual report on religious freedom, issued by the US State Department.
He further said that there has been growing rhetoric of incitement and hatred practiced by Saudi Arabia and the rest of the blockading countries aimed at Qatari citizens, journalists, and media institutions.
This entails threats of assault and physical harm, in addition to the issuance of laws to penalize the citizens of the siege countries in the case that they expressed solidarity with their brothers in Qatar.
رئيس اللجنة الوطنية لحقوق الإنسان يطالب بضرورة إدراج انتهاكات المملكة العربية السعودية للحق في ممارسة الشعائر الدينية،وتسييسها المتعمد للحج والعمرة ضمن الانتهاكات التي تطال حرية الدين والمعتقد والممارسات الدينية،في التقرير السنوي للحرية الدينية الذي تصدره الخارجية الأمريكية#قنا pic.twitter.com/lSOudlC5PN— وكالة الأنباء القطرية (@QatarNewsAgency) June 30, 2019
Dr Al Marri mentioned that before each Haj season, the Saudi authorities deliberately mislead the world's public opinion to show that they welcome Qatari pilgrims to the holy sites.
"However, these authorities do not take any serious step or initiative to ease the obstacles they put since the beginning of the blockade, in particular allowing citizens and residents to travel to the holy sites through direct flights via Qatar Airways, instead of stopovers; and guaranteeing the safety of the worshippers in light of continued incitement against the citizens and residents of Qatar,” he said.
"Unfortunately, we are approaching the third consecutive year, with Saudi Arabia depriving Qatar's citizens and residents of exercising their right to perform Haj, as a result of the Saudi authorities' persistence to impose obstacles on the way of those who want to practice their religious rituals, Dr Al Marri said.
The United States, like other Western governments, would bear some responsibility if immediate action were not taken to prevent the siege countries from prolonging the crisis, Al Marri said.
While presenting evidence proving Saudi violations in this regard, Dr Al Marri also invited Ambassador Brownback to visit Qatar to listen to the testimonies of victims and concerned officials.
Earlier this week, Dr Al Marri had called on US elites, politicians, think tanks and other organizations to urge their allies to stop human rights violations against Qatar.
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Religion has always been used for political issues.
I agree fully with Dr Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri. Saudi Arabia has no right whatsoever to ban Muslims of any country from going to Makkah for Hajj and Umrah. By politicizing religion, the Saudi government have been transgressing into the domain of Allah let alone breaking rules of the world. Sadly, no Ulema of Saudi Arabia has spoken out against this unjust decision of the Saudi government.
Just some decades back, Saudi Arabia faced political issues from Iran but even at the height of tensions, the Kingdom did not ban Iranian pilgrims from coming for Hajj and Umrah. I believe Iranians will be performing Hajj this year also as in the past.
The Imam of Ka'aba knows very well that this action of the Saudi government is totally wrong. Why is he not giving a fatwa on this?
He is simply trying to save his job, that's all.