‘Everybody is worried’: Saudi Arabia considers cancelling annual Hajj for first time in centuries because of coronavirus

Kingdom asks the pious to hold off on booking trips to Mecca, Borzou Daragahi reports

Wednesday 01 April 2020 19:36
comments
Worshippers circle the the sacred Kaaba in Mecca's Grand Mosque on 7 March this year (above) and 13 August last year (below)
Worshippers circle the the sacred Kaaba in Mecca's Grand Mosque on 7 March this year (above) and 13 August last year (below)

Saudi Arabia has urged the pious to reconsider making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca this year, raising the possibility that the coronavirus pandemic will cause the first cancellation of the Hajj in centuries.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Muhammad Saleh bin Taher Banten, counselled “patience” among Muslims worldwide in considering pilgrimages to the kingdom this year until the impact of the coronavirus becomes clearer.

“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is prepared to secure the safety of all Muslims and nationals,” he told state television on Tuesday. “That’s why we have requested from all Muslims around the world to hold off on signing any agreements [with tour operators] until we have a clear vision.”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments