statement in 2022, Hajj is not safe

The presence of Islam’s holy sites within the Saudi government’s demographic obliges it to fulfil the rights of the pilgrims and guests of the holy sanctities, not because it is the best country or has the most rational rule, but by virtue of the location of Makkah and Medina within its geography. This is a binding matter for the Kingdom, obligating it to prepare, organise and facilitate Hajj and Umrah (minor pilgrimage) procedures for pilgrims, carrying out its full responsibility in this regard before the entire Islamic world, without causing any harm. Indeed, this is something that every ruler of the country embraced and adhered to, even in the pre-lslamic era.

However, in recent times, the Saudi government has adamantly and repeatedly politicised the Two Holy Mosques of Makkah and Medina, and made Hajj and Umrah a tool of repression, a means of eliminating opponents, and a way of supporting some authoritarian regimes. Saudi security forces arrested a number of pilgrims who live in exile from some countries, such as Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria, and pilgrims from the Chinese Muslim minority, such as the Uyghurs. After granting regular visas that command protection and care, the Saudi government arrested a number of pilgrims and visitors, handing them over to their countries, where their tyrannical regimes are notorious for their oppression and violation of rights.

The Saudi government also prevented a number of pilgrims from the Gulf and other countries, and a number of Muslim scholars, advocators and thinkers, from performing Hajj or Umrah. This follows certain positions of the Saudi regime, or because of the political stances and ideological opinions of these people. Among those who are prohibited are scholars, thinkers and university professors. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has been using the platform of the Two Holy Mosques as a tool to polish MBS’s regime, a propaganda board for its rulers, and a platform to justify its violations and atrocities.

We assert our rejection and complete condemnation of the use of Hajj and Umrah as a political tool; or as a means of oppression and repression; or as a way to lure and arrest individuals from a safe sanctuary; or trap and deliver such guests as an offering to oppressive regimes, as is the case now in the handing over of Muslims of East Turkestan (the Uyghurs) to the bloody regime in China; or to hand over any pilgrim to any repressive state in the Islamic world or elsewhere. We also affirm our rejection of the Saudi authority’s use of Hajj and Umrah as a political bribery for whomever it wants, or as a tool of punishment, banning any Muslim who desires to perform Hajj simply for exercising their natural right to express their opinion.

We categorically reject the politicisation of the Two Holy Mosques by using them as a tool for political manoeuvres, or to cover up the regime’s irrational behaviour, or to use it as a platform to whitewash the regime’s image or obscure its violations and remain silent about it. The pulpit of the Two Holy Mosques should address the entire Islamic world and not be reduced to being a mouthpiece for the regime.

We appeal to all Islamic organisations, associations, academies, institutions that are concerned with grouping Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, as well as human rights organisations, to do their duty to prevent any harm to those visiting the holy sanctities in Makkah and Medina, and to include the rights of pilgrims within the lists of rights and standards of transparency within their entities. 

The Hajj (Pilgrimage) is an Islamic obligation upon every Muslim and is one of the five pillars of Islam. It has a sanctified time and place that is well known by Muslims worldwide, and is public amongst all people across the nations. Despite Hajj being an obligation for those who can perform it, it is a legitimate right of every Muslim, and no one has the right to prevent anyone from performing Hajj, or to endanger the life or safety of any pilgrim in any way.

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