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King Salman to cover cost of sacrificial animals for 5,000 pilgrims on Hajj program

MAKKAH: King Salman will cover the cost of sacrificial animals for 5,000 pilgrims hosted by the Hajj guest program, an official said.
The offer includes all pilgrims from more than 80 countries hosted by the Guests of King Salman for Hajj and Umrah, said secretary-general of the program, Abdullah bin Mudlaj Al-Mudlaj.
These include relatives of slain soldiers from Palestine, the Egyptian army and police, as well as relatives of Sudanese army personnel who were killed in the Decisive Storm and Restoring Hope operations.
Al-Mudlaj said the number of beneficiaries this Hajj season stands at 5,000, compared to 2,400 last year.
The executive committee of the program has begun work to implement the offer in coordination with the concerned agencies, while all the beneficiaries have been informed of the offer, he added.
The Hajj guest program is coordinated with Islamic figures in different countries around the world. It helps bolster relations between the Kingdom and peoples of Arab and Islamic countries, including Qatari nationals recently hosted by the king.
Meanwhile Tawfiq Al-Sudairi, the deputy minister of Islamic affairs, call and guidance, stressed the history of the Kingdom in disassociating Hajj from political and sectarian divides.
He said: “The Kingdom has disassociated Hajj from politicization and political and sectarian slogans since it was founded by King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman. He emphasized that … Saudi officials always emphasize this strategic concept, from which all governmental authorities and service programs are launched to assist pilgrims. Therefore, it is always being reaffirmed that Hajj is a religious ritual that must be elevated and that it is so much purer than political and sectarian matters.”
Meanwhile, a Palestinian woman from Gaza wept as she stood in front of a photo of King Salman in the lobby of a hotel hosting the families of martyrs of Palestine who came to perform Hajj.
Ruwdha Abdulhameed, 63, pointed to the King’s photo and in her local Arabic dialect said: “I send my greetings to King Salman. May Allah give him a long life because he is supporter of Palestine … and we are proud of him.”
She said she has been termed as the “mother of a martyr” because her son was killed at the age of 25, and her two grandsons were also martyred. She said her sufferings faded when she arrived in the Kingdom.
“The sons of Palestine are your sons, and Saudi youths are our sons. Our lives are sacrificed for Palestine and Al-Aqsa, of which we are proud,” she said.
Around 1,000 Palestinian pilgrims will perform Hajj this year at the king’s expense under the Guests of King Salman for Hajj and Umrah program.
Pilgrim Aisha Abul-Qasim hopes that Hajj will be a good opportunity to pray for her son, Ayman Jibril, a mine expert in the Sudanese army who died four months ago.
Abul-Qasim is one of 10 Sudanese mothers who lost loved ones fighting with the Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen who will perform Hajj this season as guests of King Salman.
With tears in her eyes, Aisha said that her son had four sons of his own when he died. She said that she has spent most of her days taking care of them since April 22, when the Sudanese armed forces informed her that her son was killed.
“The Saudi Embassy in Khartoum facilitated our travel procedures to Jeddah airport. They completed the procedures in record time,” said Abul-Qasim. She also said that the Sudanese pilgrims were given a welcome reception before they were taken to a hotel in Al-Rusayfah in Makkah.

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