British Muslims warned against Hajj bookings

The Kaaba is seen at the Grand Mosque, almost empty of worshippers after Saudi authorities suspended umrah for fear of the novel coronavirus, Mecca, Saudi Arabia, March 6, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 16 April 2020

British Muslims warned against Hajj bookings

  • With the Umrah pilgrimage already suspended, concerns are mounting over whether Hajj will take place this year
  • The Council of British Hajjis encouraged people to “defer making Hajj bookings"

LONDON: British Muslims are being urged to hold off on entering into contracts with Hajj tour operators due to uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Council of British Hajjis (CBHUK) issued the advice on Wednesday, in partnership with the British Consulate in Jeddah, City of London Police, Birmingham Trading Standards and the Civil Aviation Authority.

With the Umrah pilgrimage already suspended, concerns are mounting over whether Hajj will take place this year.

Rashid Mogradia, founder and CEO of the CBHUK, encouraged people to “defer making Hajj bookings until there is a clear picture on the spread of the coronavirus.”

He praised Saudi authorities for “taking the health and wellbeing of Muslims from all over the world wanting to undertake the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage seriously by suspending the lesser pilgrimage of Umrah.”

The British Consul-General in Jeddah, Seif Usher, advised British Muslims to “wait and monitor announcements from the Saudi authorities before planning Hajj and Umrah.”

“The FCO is currently advising British nationals against all non-essential travel worldwide for an indefinite period,” he added.   
Yasmin Qureshi, a British MP and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hajj and Umrah, urged British Muslims to follow the advice of the Saudi authorities and “put on hold their Hajj plans until there is a clear picture with the coronavirus pandemic.”

Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting center for fraud and cybercrime, warned that “criminals will use every opportunity they can to defraud innocent people,” and the Hajj and Umrah market “is no different.”

To avoid falling victim to Hajj-related fraud, Action Fraud and the CBHUK encouraged people to make sure that they have booked with an ATOL holder, that it has been issued with an ATOL certificate, and that it is approved by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

The advice also encouraged people with existing bookings to hold off from making further payment instalments until the Saudi authorities announce Hajj 2020.


Malaysia’s king rejects PM Muhyiddin’s request for emergency rule

Updated 25 October 2020

Malaysia’s king rejects PM Muhyiddin’s request for emergency rule

  • Critics say Muhyiddin Yassin’s request for emergency rule is an attempt by the premier to stay in power amid a leadership challenge

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s King Al-Sultan Abdullah rejected on Sunday a proposal by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for him to declare a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus crisis, saying that he did not see the need.
Critics say Muhyiddin’s request for emergency rule, which would include suspending parliament, is an attempt by the premier to stay in power amid a leadership challenge.
Malaysia is seeing a resurgence in virus infections and on Saturday reported its biggest daily jump in cases with 1,228 new cases.
The palace said Muhyiddin made the request for emergency rule to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, but that the government has been handling the crisis well.
“Al-Sultan Abdullah is of the opinion that there is no need at the moment for His Majesty to declare an emergency in the country or in any part of the country of Malaysia,” the palace said in a statement.
“His Majesty is confident in the ability of the government under the leadership of the Prime Minister to continue to implement policies and enforcement efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The king’s decision came after a meeting with other senior royals in the country.
The constitution gives the king the right to decide if an emergency should be declared, based on threats to security, economy or public order.
Muhyiddin has been in a precarious position since he took office in March with a two-seat majority. Uncertainties deepened after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said last month he had the parliamentary majority to form a new government.