Left Menu
Development News Edition

Indonesia seeks Saudi help over suspension of entry for Umrah pilgrimage

Reuters | Jakarta | Updated: 27-02-2020 17:20 IST | Created: 27-02-2020 17:11 IST
Indonesia seeks Saudi help over suspension of entry for Umrah pilgrimage
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

Indonesia's foreign minister on Thursday urged Saudi Arabia to allow its citizens to continue their Umrah pilgrimage after hundreds were stranded at Jakarta airport when the kingdom suspended foreign entry for the Umrah over coronavirus concerns. Indonesia is the world's biggest Muslim-majority country and it often sends around 1 million people on the Umrah pilgrimage every year in the kingdom, which hosts the two holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina.

The Saudi ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement that the suspensions were temporary but provided no timeframe for their expiry. It was unclear if the haj pilgrimage, which is scheduled to begin in late July, would be impacted. "The immediacy of this will impact our citizens because, at the time of the announcement, there are Indonesian citizens or may be citizens of other countries who have flown there," Indonesia's foreign minister, Retno Marsudi, told reporters on Thursday.

The government was trying to convince the Saudi authorities to allow the Indonesians already there to complete their pilgrimage. More than 1,100 pilgrims had left for Saudi Arabia on Thursday from Jakarta's airport, CNN Indonesia cited an official at Indonesia's religious ministry as saying, while around 1,500 had been asked to postpone their trips.

The TV footage showed hundreds of pilgrims, some dressed in uniforms provided by travel agents, stranded at Jakarta's airport. Joko Asmoro of the Association of Muslim Haj and Umrah Organizers told Reuters that 150,000 to 200,000 pilgrims could be impacted by the suspension over the next month.

Asmoro said organizers would reschedule flights for the pilgrims "until the Saudi government opens Umrah again." Saudi Arabia normally welcomes millions of Muslim visitors throughout the year, with a peak for the haj pilgrimage. It introduced a new tourism visa last October for 49 countries.

The country has had no cases of the coronavirus, but it has been spreading in some neighboring countries. Indonesia also has not recorded any cases. President Joko Widodo said he respected the kingdom's decision because "everything health-related is the Saudi government's number one policy".

But for many Indonesians preparing for the pilgrimage, the news is potentially devastating. Fitri Nur Arifenie, who is due to take part in the Umrah on March 23, said she was now worried her trip would be canceled.

"It's heartbreaking because everything's on schedule. I have long desired to go on the Umrah," said Arifenie, who works for a Korean trade promotion agency. "But what can you do? It's for the good of others."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

All party meeting - Blocking dialogue not culture of Bengal, Mamata needs to speak up

If that happens, history will record it as the dark age of Bengal....

Diya Jalao for COVID 19: How Modi put Power Grids and power warriors at risk?

While Prime Minister Narendra Modis staunch supporters are busy in search of hidden science behind the sudden announcement of 9minutes9pm campaign but his ignorance of the actual science has put the nation in another danger. The scientists ...

Videos

Latest News

Home alone in lockdown, squash star Joshna on road to self discovery

Used to travelling 200 days in a year, Indias leading squash player Joshna Chinappa is grappling with the anxiety of being home alone amid a nationwide lockdown, during which even going to a grocery store has become an amazing experience. W...

Supply fuel to only vehicles engaged in essential services: Collector to petrol pumps

The Jagatsinghpur district administrationin in Odisha has directed petrol pump owners not to give fuel to private persons till the end of the lockdown period, but to supply only to the vehicles engaged in essential services. Jagatinghpur di...

COVID-19: Cluster containment strategy designed for Delhi, Mumbai, Bhilwada, Agra, says health ministry official.

COVID-19 Cluster containment strategy designed for Delhi, Mumbai, Bhilwada, Agra, says health ministry official....

AIIMS to provide five N95 masks to each medical personnel for 20 days

Only five N95 masks will be provided to each doctor, nursing officer, technical staff, security guard and maintenance staff for 20 days at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences AIIMS. N95 masks to be disinfected by individual users an...

Give Feedback