Islamic Ministry urges against politicizing hajj matters

Islamic Minister Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed. (Photo/Islamic Ministry)

Islamic Ministry says it finds the politicization and distortion of truth behind matters related to the hajj pilgrimage “unacceptable.”

The response comes after videos were shared on social media showing Maldivian pilgrims in a crowded tent in Mina. Some social medias alleged that regular Maldivian pilgrims were deliberately subjected to such conditions, including being forced to sleep in shifts, while pilgrims from other countries, and even senior Maldivian government officials who went to hajj, were staying in better tents.

A spokesperson from the Islamic Ministry told Sun on Tuesday morning that the claims were “completely false.”

He said that Maldivian pilgrims aren’t being treated any differently than other pilgrims, and that the Saudi government made uniform arrangements for all pilgrims.

‘Mina is a place were hundreds of thousands of people gather. Politicizing matters related to the hajj and spreading false claims is completely unacceptable,” said the spokesperson.

He said that officials from Maldives Hajj Corporation are making great sacrifices for the sake of pilgrims, taking care of all pilgrims, many of them sick and elderly, by giving them proper food and taking measures to protect them from heatstroke.

The spokesperson said the Hajj Corporation’s actions were something for all Maldivians to be proud of.

1,150 Maldivians travelled to Saudi Arabia to perform this year’s hajj, including 50 people who received government sponsorship to perform the pilgrimage.

Government sponsorship of hajj pilgrimage for 1,000 people living below the poverty line during his five-year term was one of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s electoral pledges.

The long waitlist for the annual hajj pilgrimage, as well as the cost, is an issue of deep concern to Maldivians, many of whom spend years, saving up to perform the rite.

The Hajj Corporation currently charges MVR 69,965 per pilgrim. However, President Muizzu has said it is far higher a price to charge for such an important religious duty. The corporation’s managing director, Mohamed Shakeel, has said the price will be reduced to MVR 50,000 within the next three years.