Wednesday, 23 August, 2017

Why should Muslim countries follow Iran to boycott Hajj?


The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence.

It is one of the five pillars of Islam, alongside Shahadah, Salat, Zakat, and Sawm.

Pilgrims can also go to Mecca to perform the rituals at other times of the year. This is sometimes called the “lesser pilgrimage”, or Umrah.

But it’s time to boycott Saudi Arabia because Saudis could use Hajj revenues to fund terrorism.

Historically in the 7th Century, when the Prophet Muhammad fled Mecca and went to Medina, he refused to do the pilgrimage, because he said that the Quraysh tribe that controlled Mecca were “jahil” (or ignorant) and he called it the Jahil Hajj and he had his own boycott.

Iran becomes pioneer to boycott traveling to Mecca for Hajj

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran have risen sharply since last year, in part due to disputes over Saudi Arabia’s handling of the hajj and off-season pilgrimages called umrah.

Iran has said its pilgrims would not attend the annual hajj pilgrimage, blaming Saudi Arabia for “sabotage” and failing to guarantee the safety of pilgrims.

Allegations that Saudi security personnel molested two Iranian boys returning from umrah last year led Iran to briefly suspend umrah pilgrimages pending an investigation.

The death of more than 400 Iranians last September in the worst stampede in the hajj’s history further stoked Iranian anger at Saudi Arabia.

Iranian officials criticized Riyadh for failing to manage large crowds properly and ensure pilgrims’ safety.

Nearly a year after the last hajj, Saudi Arabia has still not published a report into the disaster, at which it said more than 700 pilgrims were killed, the highest death toll at the annual pilgrimage since a crush in 1990.

Breaking with Iran could cost Saudi Arabia billions in  revenue

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia could lose billions of dollars in revenue from Iranian Muslims completing the required pilgrimage to Mecca.

One hundred thousand Iranians visit Saudi Arabia for the hajj every year. An additional 500,000 visit for the umrah, an optional but meritorious pilgrimage that can be undertaken at any time of the year.

Iranians made up five percent of the two million Muslims who visited Saudi Arabia for the hajj in 2015.

The hajj is a big boon for Saudi Arabia’s economy. A Saudi economist claimed in 2014 that the country would earn $18.6 billion from the hajj and umrah combined, with $8.5 billion of that coming from the hajj.

That’s ten percent of what Saudi Arabia makes in oil revenues. According to a study by the Mecca Chamber of Commerce, the average foreign hajj pilgrim spends around $5,000 over the course of his or her time in the Kingdom.

If we apply that figure to the number of visitors from Iran, that’s $500 million in hajj income that the Saudi government is leaving on the table.

Assuming that umrah pilgrims spend the same amount of money on their journeys, Saudi Arabia’s losses could spike to $3 billion.

Saudis rulers could fulfill one of the following options if the money was deposited into their account: 1) Buying 190 F-16 fighter to kill tens of thousands of Yemenis  2) Buying more than 60 thousands TOW missile to equip ISIL and Al-Nusra Front terrorists 3) Monthly payment of $ 2,000 to 175000 terrorists for 1 year 4) Buying more than 6/000/000 Kalashnikov weapons intended for terrorists  5) Equipping terrorists with more than 170/000 “RPGs” missile

Muslim countries should follow Iran to boycott Saudi Arabia, why?

The pilgrimage industry is the country’s second most important after oil and gas. Nearly two million foreign pilgrims visit the holy city of Mecca annually during Hajj. The figure is expected to reach 2.7 million by 2020.

As the single biggest contributor to the funding of Islamic extremism, Saudis could use Hajj revenues to fund terrorism.

Saudi Arabia is a theocratic absolute monarchy that governs based on an extreme interpretation of Sharia (Islamic law).

It is so extreme, it has been widely compared to ISIS. Algerian journalist Kamel Daoud characterized Saudi Arabia in an op-ed in The New York Times as “an ISIS that has made it.”

In the wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks, scholar Yousaf Butt stressed that “the fountainhead of Islamic extremism that promotes and legitimizes violence lies with the fanatical ‘Wahhabi’ strain of Islam centered in Saudi Arabia.”

In the past few decades, the Saudi regime has spent an estimated $100 billion exporting its extremist interpretation of Islam worldwide.

It infuses its fundamentalist ideology in the ostensible charity work it performs, often targeting poor Muslim communities in countries like Pakistan or places like refugee camps, where uneducated, indigent, oppressed people are more susceptible to it.

Whether elements within Saudi Arabia support ISIS is contested. Even if Saudi Arabia does not directly support or fund ISIS, however, Saudi Arabia gives legitimacy to the extremist ideology ISIS preaches.

What is not contested, on the other hand, is that Saudi elites in the business community and even segments of the royal family support extremist groups like al-Qaida.

U.S. government cables leaked by WikiLeaks admit “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

“It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority,” wrote former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a leaked 2009 cable.

Of the 19 Sept. 11 attackers, 15 were citizens of Saudi Arabia. Zacarias Moussaoui, a convicted 9/11 plotter, confessed in sworn testimony to U.S. authorities that members of the Saudi royal family funded al-Qaeda before the attacks

So Muslims need to boycott the multibillion-dollar industry of the Hajj, its rituals and a Saudi regime that exploits its role as “custodian” of the holy mosques in Mecca and Medina to secure moral immunity. This despite the country’s awful human rights record, the denial of the vote for women, deadly stampedes and fires like the Hajj carnage, and the exporting of a violent interpretation of Islam.

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1 Comment

  1. Amir

    August 31, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Why? Simple! When Prophet Mohammad put Mecca under Islamic Laws, Mecca became free of all evil and inhuman hands, even with two Dynasties who came thereafter that ruled Mecca and beyond for centuries, Mecca became the center of equality and respect, all because of the House of god.
    Now, Mecca is under the rulers that don’t see the House as respectful Moslem to Moslem interactions; they see it as a toll to continue their evil ideas and corruptions. We all were informed recently the involvement of some Saudi’s officials in recent 28 pages of 911 (Sep. 11) report that was added in July of this year by 911 commission chairmen.
    It is not as a surprise that this man made dynasty is involved in many terrorist activities all over the world specially killing Yemenis and beyond . All Moslems all over the world should strongly support Iran’s decisions boycotting the Mecca until the Saudi families are out of Mecca for good

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