Muslim pilgrims worshipping for Hajj

Continue Conflict Between Arab Countries

The United Nations has received a complaint from Qatar concerning restrictions placed by Saudi Arabia over Qatar pilgrims. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Qatar stated on July 29 that the complaint was filed to UN special rapporteur.

The complaint elaborated in detail how the Saudis have put ‘obstacles’ in places for the Qatari citizens entering Saudi Arabia to perform their yearly Hajj pilgrimage.

Adel al-Jubeir, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia has shot back, accusing Qatar of politicizing the issue. The minister said that Qatar has effectively declared a war on Saudi Arabia by internationalizing the Hajj issue.

This claim was subsequently rejected in an Al Jazeera interview by Qatar’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. He said that Qatar has never politicized the Hajj issue. Instead, the Qatari foreign minister said that Saudi Arabia is actually trying to politicize the whole Hajj pilgrimage thing in the middle of the Gulf crisis. He alleged that Saudi authorities have refused the safety of Qatari pilgrims during their time in Saudi Arabia.

The conflict between the two countries began on July 20 when Riyadh decreed that citizens of Qatar who wants to perform their religious duties in 2017 would be permitted to enter Saudi Arabia but with a few restrictions. The list of such conditions included that Qatari pilgrims must fly in only through Saudi accredited airlines.

The pilgrims must also get visas on arrival when they land in Medina or Jeddah, the only points of entry to the kingdom. Such restrictions have angered the Qatari ministry of Islamic affairs, who alleged that the Saudi authorities have refused to entertain any communication regarding pilgrims safety. Riyadh is also not facilitating the Hajj, Qatar claims.

The restrictions on Qatar come as a component of the boycott started by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The boycott began on June 5. All boycotting countries have severed diplomatic ties and placed a blockade on Qatar. All four Arab countries accuse Qatar of providing money for terrorist activities.

Qatar has vehemently denied such allegations. All the four countries have snapped air and sea connections with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, its neighbor, has closed Qatar’s only land border in the peninsula.

Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said that the Saudi actions violate a number of international laws. He warned that Qatar will make all efforts to triumph over such obstructions and strive to solve it via the proper channels.

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