Saudi Embassy pays all Hajj costs for 33 Lebanese

The pilgrims gathered at the embassy in Beirut before their trip to Saudi Arabia. (AN photo)
Updated 14 August 2018

Saudi Embassy pays all Hajj costs for 33 Lebanese

  • Saudi Arabia does not interfere in the formation of the Lebanese government, and this was evident in the parliamentary elections
  • Saudi Arabian embassy in Lebanon did not charge any fees for the Hajj visas

Saudi Arabia is making the wishes of 33 people in need from Lebanon come true by paying for them to come to the Kingdom to perform Hajj.
Those chosen include the mothers of Lebanese soldiers killed in action, widows, the sick, the elderly and orphans. Their pilgrimages have been organized by the Saudi Embassy in Beirut as part of a humanitarian initiative titled “A Wish for the Establishment of the Hope Industry,” which it launched on Monday.
Saudi Charge d’Affaires in Lebanon Walid Bukhari said that the project “is part of goals and plans that aim to achieve the Kingdom’s mission to communicate with all sects and political forces in Lebanon in a balanced manner, and the initiatives we are undertaking are an embodiment of the objectives of the Kingdom’s foreign policy.”
The pilgrims, some of whom are from northern Lebanon, others from orphanages, the Islamic hospice and the Islamic Charitable Purposes Association, gathered at the embassy in Beirut before their trip to Saudi Arabia.
Amna Rashid Zakaria’s son, Hussein Ammar, was a soldier kidnapped and killed by Daesh gunmen in Arsal Barrens. His remains were not returned to the family for four years after he was taken. She said she applied for Hajj through an intermediary in her hometown of Fnideq in Akkar district, and was surprised to receive a call from the Saudi Embassy telling her that the Kingdom would pay for her to perform Hajj.
“You have compensated for all that I have suffered during the sit-in in the street for years, waiting to know the fate of my son until I received his remains in 2017,” she said. “Now I and my husband will go to the Hajj to pray and ask Allah to help us remain patient.
“When Daesh gunmen kidnapped my son, who was a soldier in the army, he was 23, and when he received his remains he was 27 years old,” she added, weeping.
Aisha Ahmed Ahmed, the mother of Khalid Muqbel Hassan, another soldier killed by Daesh forces, said she was very happy when she was told that Saudi Arabia would cover the cost of her Hajj pilgrimage.
“My other son had saved a little money to send me to Hajj at his own expense to pray for the soul of my martyr son at the Prophet’s Mosque,” she said. “But the Saudi Embassy’s call and their announcement that they would pay my Hajj expenses was like a lifetime wish come true.”
Another of the pilgrims, Ferial Mohammed Al-Kanj, said her husband died of grief after their house, on the outskirts of the Nahr Al-Bared camp in northern Lebanon, was destroyed. The area witnessed fierce battles between Palestinian terrorist organizations and the Lebanese army years ago. She said she applied for Hajj through a sheikh in her town and was surprised a few days ago when the mayor told her that the Saudi Embassy would fund her pilgrimage.
“May Allah bless them and keep them safe,” she said.
“The Kingdom is always seeking to serve people, and it displays this role in a sustainable manner,” said Bukhari, the charge d’affaires. “Through this initiative, we wanted to show the real face of Saudi diplomacy and the real role of the Kingdom in offering hope. It also stresses the role of the Kingdom under the guidance of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who are keen to ensure that pilgrims perform Hajj with tranquility and safety.”
He praised the staff at that the embassy in Beirut who, he said, had worked round the clock to issue 15,000 Hajj visas for people in Lebanon in record time.
“Christian politicians, including President Michel Aoun, applied for Hajj visas on behalf of Muslims, which was quite notable,” Bukhari added. “We also received applications from churches. This is a reflection of the diverse nature of Lebanon. We have not distinguished any political force and excluded another, but we have granted visas in a balanced manner for all.
“Saudi Arabia does not interfere in the formation of the Lebanese government, and this was evident in the parliamentary elections, where it has been proven that the Kingdom is the only side that respected the sovereignty of Lebanon and is supporting it continuously,” he added. “This has been shown through conferences held to support Lebanon internationally.”
Bukhari added that the embassy did not charge any fees for the Hajj visas. “Visa applicants only paid for a package of services including food, transportation, accommodation and modern rail transport,” he said.


First pilgrims leave under Eyab initiative

Updated 18 August 2019

First pilgrims leave under Eyab initiative

  • Al-Amoudi toured the exhibition dedicated to welcome Eyab’s beneficiaries

Saudi Minister of Transport and Chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Dr. Nabeel Al-Amoudi, oversaw the departure of the first 

group of pilgrims under the Eyab initiative on Saturday together with GACA President Abdulhadi bin Ahmed Al-Mansouri.

Eyab seeks to improve services provided to pilgrims, with the authority aiming to enrich pilgrims’ experience at the Kingdom’s airports. It is expected to benefit 30,000 pilgrims during this year’s Hajj season.

Al-Amoudi toured the exhibition dedicated to welcome Eyab’s beneficiaries, inspected the services available and received a briefing from the initiative’s officials.

GACA started an experimental implementation of Eyab this year, aimed at pilgrims returning to Indonesia, India and Malaysia through Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz International Airport and Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Airport.