SANAD – EXCLUSIVE
A number of human rights organisations and Islamic institutions launched a campaign under the title “Hajj is not safe” to shed light on violations and abuses practiced by the Saudi regime against pilgrims, Umrah performers and visitors to the holy sites in Saudi Arabia.
The campaign, which was organised by Sanad Human Rights Organisation in collaboration with several organisations, associations, institutions, and public figures was launched on Thursday 16 June 2022 under the hashtag #HajjIsNotSafe.
In a published document, the campaign stated it comes in response to the repeated and ongoing violations perpetrated by Saudi authorities, such as luring pilgrims by granting them Hajj and Umrah visas for the purpose of entering Saudi Arabia to then be arrested and imprisoned in Saudi Arabia or deported to other countries where their lives are at high risk.
According to campaign document, the Saudi regime also prevents many Muslims from performing Hajj or Umrah merely due to their political or ideological stances on some issues or for exercising their right of free speech.
The campaign affirms that the Saudi authorities use Hajj and Umrah as a mean to repress dissidents either to punish them for challenging the regime’s policies or to shake them down and entice them to adopt the formal narratives.
The campaign issued a joint statement in which it indicated that the Saudi government adamantly and repeatedly politicises the Two Holy Mosques of Makkah and Medina, and made Hajj and Umrah a tool of repression, a means of eliminating opponents, and a way of supporting some authoritarian regimes.
The Saudi government also prevented a number of pilgrims from the GCC and other countries, in addition to many Muslim scholars, advocates, activists and thinkers, from performing Hajj or Umrah. This follows certain positions of the Saudi regime, or because of the political stances and ideological opinions of these people.
The signatories to the campaign statement affirmed their categorical rejection of these violations practiced by the Saudi regime, appealing to all Islamic bodies and human rights organisations to do their duty to prevent any harm to those visiting the holy sanctities in Makkah and Medina. The campaign also called to include the rights of pilgrims within the list of rights and standards of transparency.