By Neeraj Gangal
Iran has suspended pilgrimages to the Muslim holy places as a 'religious' move.
Umrah service providers in Saudi Arabia are fearing heavy losses because of Iran's decision not to send any pilgrims, according to a report.
According to the Arab News daily, Iran's Sazman-e-Haj (Haj and Pilgrimage Organization) has told the company Al Hussam, which is one of the major groups providing services to Iranians, that no one from the country would be performing Umrah until further notice.
Iran has suspended pilgrimages to the Muslim holy places until Saudi religious police end their "appalling behaviour" towards Iranian Shiite pilgrims, an official told newswire AFP earlier this month.
"The reason for the suspension is because the way the agents of the Saudi Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice have been dealing with our pilgrims," the head of public relations of the Iranian hajj and pilgrimage organisation Abdollah Nassiri said.
"The umrah has been suspended and not halted," Nassiri added, referring to the so-called less pilgrimage that is carried out throughout the year unlike the annual hajj which was held most recently late last year.
"Our move is not political, it is religious," he told the newswire.
Speaking to Arab News, Taha Marikar, director of sales and marketing, Al Hussam said that if Iranians fail to turn up hotels and transport companies in Makkah and Madinah are facing millions of riyals in losses.
Last year, 3.7 million Umrah pilgrims arrived from all over the world. Iran accounted for 866,147 of these, almost a quarter of the total, the daily added.
According to Arab News, if last year's figure of Iranian arrivals were to be considered, hotels and related businesses in Makkah and Madinah could suffer a loss of up to SR700m ($187m) if none of them perform Umrah this year.
It is about time The Iranian government take care of his people! Why Iranians who invest and spend more money than any nation are been treated so badly even by Muslim brothers and the governments ?
iran is the arabian and islamic world's friend, do not mistake it for being our enemy.
Saudi should treat Iranian pilgrims in better. the above figure says quarter of umrah pilgrim last year where from Iran. They are not there for fun or party, its purely on religious occassion. I have saudi a treats thier guest in better way