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Makkah Governor: This Year’s Hajj Is a Response to All Lies, Slanders | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Makkah Governor Prince Khaled al-Faisal REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Mina – Makkah province governor Prince Khaled al-Faisal said that the orderly conduct of the pilgrimage this year “is a response to all the lies and slanders made against the kingdom”.

The prince spoke during a press conference on Wednesday in Mina where he said that the services provided by Saudi Arabia during this year’s hajj season is the best response to all the lies of the envious states that questioned the kingdom’s ability in organizing the hajj.

“The gathering of over two million pilgrims in Arafat at the same time, in the same place and in similar two-piece seamless white cloths in an atmosphere of tranquility is a clear message to the world that Islam is the religion of peace and not of terrorism,” added the prince.

Makkah governor also said that a small number of Muslims try to distort the image of Muslims in the world.

Prince Khaled had a message to the Iranian leadership: “I pray to God Almighty to guide them and to deter them from their transgression and their wrong attitude toward their fellow Muslims among the Arabs in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.”

He continued to address the Iranian leadership saying that: “if they are preparing an army to invade us, we are not easily taken by someone who would make war on us. When we desire, and with the help of God Almighty, we will deter every aggressor and will never relent in protecting this holy land and our dear country. No one can defile any part from our country if any one of us remains on the face of the earth.”

Prince Faisal reiterated that Saudi Arabia does not interfere in Iran’s internal affairs “but we don’t permit the holy sites and the Hajj to be used for political ends”.

The prince stressed that what he said was in defense of Islam and Muslims all over the world.

“Islam is the religion of love, cooperation and brotherhood,” he said adding that Saudi citizens are honored to serve and help the pilgrims on this holy land.

When asked about investing pilgrimage in tourism, Prince Khaled said that religion can’t be linked with tourism. “Hajj is not tourism. Tourism has a specific authority in Saudi Arabia which has a lot of projects and future plans for tourism in the kingdom. We do not accept to mix between tourism and hajj in Makkah. Religion is religion and tourism is something else.”

He said that there are plans to develop Makkah and the Holy Sites. Studies are being conducted and work on some of these projects will begin next year.

The Prince also mentioned that the Holy Sites will be linked with Makkah as per a modern master plan. Preliminary studies have been conducted, and they will be presented to King Salman at the beginning of next year.