JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas has confirmed that Saudi Arabia will not allow Indonesian Muslims undertaking this year’s annual Hajj pilgrimage to enter the country.
But he provided some consolation by pointing out that Riyadh will not allow nationals from 11 countries like France, Great Britain, and Germany from entering the country to perform the ritual, although Saudi Arabia seemed to signal otherwise earlier this June.
“The Saudi Arabian government announced that the hajj pilgrimage is only permitted for [Muslim] individuals in the country, whether Saudi nationals or expatriates,” Yaqut said on Saturday, June 13.
"It is also in line with their decision to set a hajj quota of 60 thousand pilgrims in 2021. Their decision was based on the need to prioritize [the pilgrims’] safety and security, as the Covid-19 shows no signs of receding.”
He expressed his appreciation to Saudi Arabia for announcing the policy, as it dispelled allegations that the country turned away Indonesian hajj pilgrims on June 3.
The Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated Yaqut. “Since Saudi Arabia allows foreign nationals within its borders to go on hajj, that means Indonesian citizens in the country can undertake the pilgrimage,” Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah asserted.
“Saudi Foreign Minister [Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud] notified [Indonesian] Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi of the Saudi policy.”
The Indonesian Muslim Association to Organize the Hajj and Umrah or Amphuri official Zaky Zakaria said his organization accepted the Saudi decision.