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Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs: 2021 Hajj Only For Muslims Within Saudi Arabia

June 13, 2021, 04.23 AM

JAKARTA, – 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.”

Also read: 'Hajj Fund is Properly Managed': Indonesian Senior Minister 

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.

Also read: BREAKING NEWS: Indonesia Cancels Sending Hajj Pilgrims to Saudi Arabia

“The Saudi decision dispelled assumptions and misinformation surrounding the cancellation of the hajj, such as insufficient lobbying from the Indonesian government on behalf [of Indonesian hajj pilgrims], or that Indonesia owes funds to Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“As difficult as the Saudi policy might be for Indonesian pilgrims, there is no doubt that they made the right decision.”

Saudi Arabia set a number of criteria for the hajj. These include setting the age for pilgrims to be between 18 to 65 years old, in good health and free from pre-existing conditions, and receive a Covid-19 vaccine approved by Saudi authorities.

The last point was a bone of contention for Indonesian pilgrims who was vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine, as the vaccine is not recognized by Saudi Arabia.

(Writers: Sania Mashabi, Irfan Kamil, Nicholas Ryan Aditya | Editors: Egidius Patnistik, Irfan Maullana)


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