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Yemeni Awqaf Minister Urges Coup Militias not to Politicize Hajj Pilgrimage | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Muslim pilgrims pray around the holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque ahead of the annual haj pilgrimage in Mecca September 21, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

Riyadh- Ahmad Atiyyah, head of the Yemeni Hajj mission, urged coup Houthi militias to avoid politicizing Islam’s Hajj pilgrimage and allow for Yemenis en route to Saudi Arabia to pass through or leave their territories, stressing that Saudi Arabia welcomes Hajj visitors to Makkah regardless of the areas from which they come.

“The number of Yemenis who will be carrying out this year’s pilgrimage is about 24,000 pilgrims,” ​​Attiyah said in a telephone interview with Asharq Al-Awsat from Makkah.

The Yemeni official also called on the Houthi militias not to politicize the pilgrimage, coup forces have been said to obstruct thousands of Yemeni pilgrims in areas under their control from visiting Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj pilgrimage.

He called on the Houthi militias to avoid involving political agenda with the Yemeni pilgrims. He said that Saudi Arabia has received Yemeni pilgrims from all Yemeni lands.

He confirmed that the arrangements for their pilgrimage had been completed earlier this year, stressing the existence of high-level coordination between the Ministry of Awqaf and concerned authorities in Saudi Arabia, most of which was devoted to facilitating Hajj for Yemenis.

The Yemeni minister said that he recently visited the land border crossing, and reviewed all the procedures implemented by security and governmental agencies in Saudi Arabia to receive the Yemeni pilgrims, including the provision of health services, and increasing the number of customs officials at the port to facilitate Yemeni pilgrims’ entry to the Kingdom.

He pointed out that Saudi history attests against failed allegations againstthe Kingdom over politicizing Hajj or Umrah, citing that Yemeni pilgrims will perform their rituals for the third year since the outbreak of war.

He pointed out that the first of the Yemeni pilgrims arrived in Makkah on Monday, and were received by the staff of the ministry, while a number of them preferred to go to Medina, stressing the smooth flow of Yemeni pilgrims and ease of movement within the Kingdom’s holy sites. All expected Yemeni pilgrims to holy sites will arrive by Aug 24 at most.