Islamic affairs expert Mohamed Khan said that the hurdles imposed by Saudi Arabia on Qatar residents for the Haj was disappointing for Muslims around the world.
“People who go for Haj are called the guests of Allah and to see how Saudi Arabia is treating our brothers and sisters in Qatar for the annual pilgrimage is both sad and disappointing,” he pointed out.
“About 25 or 30 years ago, performing Haj was easier compared to today. It cost me only QR2,500 when I went for Haj in 1980’s from Qatar to Saudi Arabia but today not only is it very expensive but also the limited quotas make it more difficult for people to get a visa for Haj,” Khan said.
Haj plans of most of the Qataris failed due to practical problems created by Saudi Arabia, such as limitations on booking hotels and securing accommodation in Saudi Arabia for local companies that usually organise Haj trips.
Saudi Arabia also failed to provide information on how Qatar residents could perform Haj, forcing many expatriates to avail services from Haj companies in their home countries.
“If the Saudi government was sincere in its invitation to allow people from Qatar to perform Haj it would not have imposed restrictions such as that people can only come by air that too with an airline that their government approves,” he said.
“In 2016, around 1,200 people performed Haj from Qatar but some media outlets in Saudi Arabia are lying that 1,500 people have come from Qatar for Haj this year,” Khan added.