Jeddah: Omar Al-Ansari, a 13-year-old boy from Jeddah, recently went viral when the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah gave him the opportunity to report on this year’s Hajj.
His journey as the ministry’s reporter began at King Abdulaziz International Airport when the youngster was presented with the chance to switch from his typical tourism coverage to conducting interviews with international pilgrims upon their arrival.
“I was so happy to be assigned (this task) by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and be part of their media team,” he told Arab News while he was reporting in Mina.
Tasked with conducting interviews in English with Muslims who came to the Kingdom to perform Hajj, he asked them all “about their experiences, from making preparations to putting on ihram and seeing the Kaaba for the first time, together with the emotions and meaningful realizations (that accompanied) completing the rites of Hajj,” he said.
He continued: “My Hajj stories (comprised) short interviews detailing the personal experiences and feelings of those pilgrims who have made the holy pilgrimage of Hajj.”
His father, Essam Al-Ansari, was with him in every step of the way, and together, they created special content for the ministry.
“We were very happy when the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah asked Omar to join their media team to cover this year’s Hajj, and we are very proud of what Omar is doing,” said the father.
Essam told Arab News that covering Hajj will likely be one of the most significant experiences Omar will ever have as it is the largest annual gathering of people on Earth.
“All I can tell you is that he is at the right place at the right time. He gets the job done, and sometimes he has to go to all places in Makkah in order to get these people.”
Following his interviews, the young reporter has gone viral, with many followers praising him. He has also garnered the respect of older reporters.
One of his videos, posted on the ministry’s Twitter account, reached over 680,000 views.
“This young man is about to take over. He is focused, well-spoken and has incredible talent at such a young age. Your future is bright young man!!!” said Ahmed Al-Qahtani on his Twitter account.
Samer Al-Shikh said: “We are very proud of you (Omar), you became a distinctive sign in this year’s Hajj due to your skills ... during your spontaneous conversations with pilgrims.”