Arab countries welcome Saudi Arabia’s decision on Hajj 2020

Arab countries welcome Saudi Arabia’s decision on Hajj 2020
Muslim pilgrims perform the "Tawaf al-Ifada", a mandatory circumambulation around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the climax of the annual Hajj pilgrimage at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca on August 11, 2019. (File/AFP)
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Updated 22 July 2020

Arab countries welcome Saudi Arabia’s decision on Hajj 2020

Arab countries welcome Saudi Arabia’s decision on Hajj 2020
  • The UAE Hajj Affairs (HAO) said it will not take part in this year’s Hajj season
  • Bahrain commended the Kingdom’s efforts to assist pilgrims and care for their health

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s decision to hold Hajj this year and limit it to worshippers residing in the Kingdom has received support from various countries across the Middle East.
The UAE Hajj Affairs (HAO) said it will not take part in this year’s Hajj season, state news agency WAM reported. “The Kingdom’s decision stems from the preventive and precautionary measures taken to contain the spread of the pandemic and to keep all humans protected and safe from its risks and in accordance with the teachings of Islam in preserving the lives,” the HAO said.
The Egyptian Minister of Endowments and Al-Azhar have also welcomed the decision, as well as the ambassador of Djibouti to the Kingdom Dya-Eddine Bamakhrama. He said the Kingdom’s decision to perform Hajj this year was “wise”, state news agency SPA reported.
“This decision is welcomed for two reasons. First, it reflects Saudi Arabia’s keenness to hold the rite of Hajj, and secondly, it is keen at the same time to combat and address the coronavirus pandemic, because large crowds may be a reason for the continuation of the pandemic and its spread,” Bamakhrama said.
Bahrain also commended the Kingdom’s efforts to assist pilgrims and care for their health in order to enable them to perform the pilgrimage safely, state news agency BNA said.
The Arab League also welcomed Saudi Arabia’s announcement and said in a statement that the wise decision came to preserve the health and safety of worshippers during the coronavirus pandemic, SPA reported.


Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs

Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs
This picture shows the Dome of the Rock at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Jerusalem's Old City on July 27, 2018, after the site was reopened. (AFP)
Updated 25 January 2021

Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs

Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs
  • Council set to denounce action that is ‘violation of understandings’

AMMAN: Israeli police have stopped workers from the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf from renovating the Dome of the Rock for two consecutive days, raising tensions in the old city.

Azzam Khatib, director of the Jordanian Waqf department in Jerusalem, informed Jordan’s Ambassador in Tel Aviv Ghassan Majali and Minister of Waqf in Amman Mohammed Khalaileh of the news.

Israeli officials claim the decision was made after an individual tried to renovate the ceiling of the Bab Al-Rahmeh mosque, which Israel has demanded Muslims to vacate, without reason.

The Jerusalem Waqf Council is expected to issue a strong statement denouncing the Israeli action, calling it a violation of understandings.

Bassam Hallaq, the Waqf engineer in charge of the renovation, said that Israeli police stopped work on the gold-plated Dome of the Rock on Saturday and Sunday, and prevented urgent electric work, too.

Israel insists that any renovation or repair must be pre-approved. The renovation is not structural.

Arab News has learned that the Israeli actions on Saturday and Sunday followed the efforts of an unknown Palestinian whose face was covered, who climbed the roof of the Bab Al-Rahmeh mosque in order to apply cement to stop leaks.

Israel has forbidden any repair work on the mosque.

Hallaq said that all repair work in the entire Al-Aqsa compound has also been suspended by Israel.

The mosque’s engineer insists that the Waqf has no cement materials inside the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and that Friday was a holiday when staff did not work.

Sheikh Omar Kisswani, director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told reporters that repairs to the entire 144 dunum Haram Al-Sharif/Al-Aqsa mosque compound were the right of the Islamic Waqf and that the Israeli police have no right to interfere in their work.

A spokesman for the Israeli police told Arab News that the “subject isn’t under the responsibility of the Israeli police.”