Jul 29 ยท Last update 10 days ago.

Are Saudi Arabia right to restrict the Hajj in 2020?

But Hajj remains the most important pilgrimage in Islam, with all Muslims expected to carry out this journey at least once in their lives, with millions of Muslims attending annually. This year with the ever-present threat of the coronavirus pandemic the Saudi Government is dramatically limiting the number of pilgrims coming into the country in an effort to avoid a super-spreading scenario, with so many people in such close proximity. Saudi Arabia is currently observing over 2000 new cases of COVID-19 daily and has decided not to permit pilgrims from abroad until August. Is Saudi Arabia right to restrict the 2020 Hajj to such a degree? Is this decision as unprecedented as it seems in Islamic history? Are they being needlessly cautious? Who should get to decide who can or cannot make such an important pilgrimage? www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200727_06
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The Hajj is a massive logistical feat to organise, which has gone painfully wrong numerous times in the past, the Saudi authorities are the only party in a position to organise such a huge annual event and are right to exercise caution. Although the coronavirus has had a myriad of differing responses worldwide the countries that have dealt with the virus most effectively, having the fewest cases and least amount of fatalities, are those who took the pandemic seriously. Acting strictly and divisively, Saudi Arabia obviously wish to avoid being another country at the heart of this pandemic like the US, Brazil or UK. The scaling down of the Hajj will be a massive economic hit for the Saudi Arabia, whose booming religious tourism industry is worth billions of dollars, so it should be clear what a serious decision this must have been for the country.

foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/23/how-to-score-a-ticket-to-the-hottest-event-in-saudi-the-hajj thenational.ae/business/economy/saudi-religious-tourism-set-to-rise-following-50bn-infrastructure-investment-1.623575

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