Saudi blocks Syrians from hajj

2012-09-18 21:09

Damascus - Saudi Arabia has barred Syrians from entering the country to perform the annual Muslim hajj pilgrimage, Syrian state media said on Tuesday, marking the latest break between the two Arab nations.

"The Syrian High Committee of hajj has announced the halt to the pilgrimage this year, due to a failure to reach consensus with the Saudi authorities," the official Sana news agency reported.

The Syrian committee "took all necessary steps for the 2012 hajj season, but the relevant ministry in Saudi Arabia did not sign the accord as it does every year," Sana said.

The hajj to Mecca - the world's largest annual human assembly - is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all those Muslims who are able to.

A decision to suspend Syrian participation in the holy pilgrimage, which has not yet been confirmed by Saudi Arabia, would be the latest in a string of moves adopted by Riyadh against the regime of President Bashar Assad.

The OPEC kingpin and other energy-rich nations of the Gulf have long demanded that Assad step down while voicing support for the Syrian rebels.

For its part, Damascus has repeatedly made thinly veiled accusations that "some Gulf nations" are supporting "terrorist" groups in Syria, the regime's blanket term for the opposition.

In early August, the opposition Syrian National Council confirmed that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were providing light arms to Syria's rebels, but not enough to take on the regime's army.

The Syrian uprising, which has steadily militarised in the face of government repression, has left more than 27 000 dead since it erupted in March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Civilians have born the vast brunt of the toll.

The United Nations puts the toll at 20 000.

  • mothusi.maje - 2012-09-18 22:50

    Wrong Brother! wrong! how do you refuse another Muslim like you an opportunity for Hajj? Has it come too political to a point where Masjid-ul-Harram is private property?

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-19 05:12

      No, not wrong !! After the slaughter of 27000 Syrians, by these assad terrorists, one should do ANYTHING, ANYTHING ,to isolate these assad monsters. Than next year , the Syrian population can perform the annual Muslim hajj pilgrimage, from a FREE Syria For sure, most Syrians, will have no problem with this !!

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-09-19 08:34

      Most Syrians will have no problem with this? Really anthony now you speak for the Syrians as well?

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-19 13:51

      Tom, I know, events at times are hard to follow.!! But, plain common sense says; That in a civil war, if the regime/dictatorship does not have 'won' after 18 months, it has lost control of 'their' country. The reason for this being;for in that case, it is IMPOSSIBLE, for the majority, to be behind this regime!!!! ( you don't even need prof Fidel, to work this one out !!!)

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-09-19 19:41

      That's entirely untrue, small pockets of resistance can cause a lot of trouble. Plus I'm not saying I support Assad, But I don't like the rebels either. Many have very extreme views, I find it funny how you still claim 27000 people were slaughtered by the regime while a third of those are probably soldiers, talk about BS.

  • Raymon - 2012-09-19 07:55

    How ironic.

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-09-19 08:46

      It is! I also find it funny how news24 or whoever wrote the article says that Assad has accused Saudi Arabia and Quatar for \supporting the rebels\ when in fact they have admitted it themselves. Let's not forget this is the same country (Saudi Arabia), that supplied Bahrain with troops and hardware to end pro democracy demonstrations. Oh and I forgot to mention the same family has been ruling the country for decades.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-19 11:19

      Tom, What you ALSO 'forgot' to mention is, that since the last demonstrator died in Bahrain, approx, three months ago, another EIGHT THOUSAND Syriann, mainly unarmed civilians were mowed down !! and what you, conveniently, also 'forget' to mention, that the Bahrain security forces have NOT; Fired rockets from tanks into apartment blocks! Dropped bombs from aircraft on unarmed civilians! Nor have soldiers shoot live ammunition from gunship helicopters ! But, we all forget to mention something at times !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-09-19 16:05

      Well luckily things didn't escalate into a civil war did they genius?

  • faerrab - 2012-09-19 10:36

    Saudi Monarchy - installed and controlled by the USA

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-09-19 12:44

      Not installed by the US.

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