Reduced Umrah, Haj visa quotas to remain for 2015

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Haj confirms visas to perform Umrah, Haj will be cut by 50% for foreign Muslims, 20% for Saudis next year

Reduced quotas for the number of visas issued to pilgrims for Umrah and Haj will remain in place for 2015, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Haj has reportedly confirmed.

The number of visas for foreign Muslims was halved and the local quota was cut by 20 percent during construction work at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Islam’s holiest site.

Saudi Arabia is spending about $20 billion renovating and extending the Grand Mosque. It says it will eventually be able to accommodate 2.2 million pilgrims at a time, as well as doubling capacity at the Mataf from 48,000 per hour to 105,000 per hour.

About 6 million people are expected to visit the site during this Umrah and Haj season.

Ministry of Haj spokesman Hatem Al Qadi said the decision to keep pilgrim numbers low would help maintain health and safety during the construction period, which is expected to be several years.

He also reiterated a plea for pilgrims to wait at least five years before again performing Haj – one of the Five Pillars of Islam that requires Muslims to visit Makkah at least once in their lives.

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Posted by: Suleyman

Minister Hatem is right to limit the numbers during the construction period, and furthermore right to ask that people who are so rich as to make Haj frequently please abstain from their exaggerated habit for a while and give a chance to others whose possible spaces are taken by these repeaters.
I would have thought that a Ministerial decision (or even an edict from the ruler himself) to absolutely STOP granting repeat haj visas for the same people would be eminently more fair and proper.
But then, we realize that the ones who abuse their wealthy privilege to make frequent haj and umrah are also mostly those well connected enough to prevent any such justice.
And as for the outrageous illogic of distinguishing in favour of Saudis when reducing haj quotas .... that is so un-Islamic I am lost for words!

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