MAKKAH — Umrah pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque in Makkah refuted rumors being circulated by some malicious media to belittle the Kingdom’s efforts in the service of pilgrims.
They denied allegations that some Umrah pilgrims were being barred from entering the Grand Mosque based on their nationalities.
“We have not experienced any of what is being circulated,” said Rasheed Al-Minsawi, an Umrah pilgrim from Morocco.
“This can not be true because thousands of pilgrims and visitors enter the Grand Mosque through many of its gates. Nobody has been denied entry on the basis of nationality or color,” he told Saudi Gazette.
“Here in the Grand Mosque of Makkah we are all Muslims,” said 50-year-old Turkish Umrah pilgrim Ahmet M.
“No one asks where we are from when entering the gates of the Grand Mosque because it does not matter. We are coming from different parts of the world, with only one direction in mind: The House of Allah.”
Qaed Ali, a Yemeni pilgrim, said: “Nobody has asked me about my nationality whether during entry or exit from the Grand Mosque.”
Abdulbari Hassan, an Egyptian pilgrim, said: “Since our arrival, we have been entering and exiting from any of the Grand Mosque’s gates.
“We have not experienced any sorting on the basis of nationality or sect. The Kingdom provides facilities to all Muslims, irrespective of their nationalities or sects.”
“Guards at the gates of the Grand Mosque do not check anyone’s identification papers. Their task is restricted to inspecting handbags as a security measure. But what is being circulated that some Umrah pilgrims are being barred from entering the Grand Mosque
due to their nationality is nothing but calumny,” he said.
“Saudi Arabia is proud to serve visitors and pilgrims of all categories and nationalities as per the administrative regulations,” said Brig. Gen. Dr. Muhammad Al-Minshawi (retired), former director of the Criminal Investigations Department in Makkah.
“It deals equally with all pilgrims without any discrimination. All worshipers are equal whatever their nationality,” he said.
Al-Minshawi added that during obligatory prayers one finds hundreds of thousands of worshipers in the Grand Mosque and its courtyards. It is impossible to sort this huge crowd and check nationalities or identities of pilgrims and worshipers.
He stressed that the Kingdom has reaffirmed its commitment and keenness to provide all facilities and services to Qatari Haj and Umrah pilgrims despite severing diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar.
On the contrary, Umrah pilgrims lauded the facilities being provided by the government of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.
Al-Minsawi said the Kingdom’s government provides all facilities and services to make sure that pilgrims perform their rites in safety and comfort.
Saudi Arabia has reiterated its commitment and keenness to provide all facilities and services to all Umrah and Haj pilgrims irrespective of nationality and sect.