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Bahraini official slams ‘politicising of Hajj’ by Iran

Bahraini official slams ‘politicising of Hajj’ by Iran

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei criticised Saudi’s handling of the pilgrimage last month

A senior Bahraini official has slammed Iran for “policising Hajj” even as Muslim pilgrims from across the world gather in Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj.

Bahrain’s ambassador to Saudi Sheikh Hamoud bin Abdullah Al Khalifa expressed his country’s “rejection of any attempts by the Iranian government or any other party to undermine the sanctity of Hajj or to harm the noble objectives of Hajj, especially their attempts to politicise Hajj to serve their blatant goals and suspicious motives”, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

He reiterated Bahrain’s “condemnation, rejection and denunciation of all attempts to politicise Hajj, divert it from its religious goals, turn its course into useless polemics or to exploit the religious season of Hajj to political ends”, the report stated.

Also read: Saudi’s Makkah turns away 72,000 as Hajj restrictions come into force

His comments come after Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei criticised Saudi’s handling of the pilgrimage last month.

In a speech, he asserted that “all Muslims have the same right over Makkah and Madinah” and that “no one should think they can do whatever they want on this land”.

“No one should manipulate and prevent the concepts of Hajj, or the points and rituals that exist in Hajj,” he told an audience.

“Unfortunately, the government of Saudi Arabia creates problems for the Hajj pilgrims and prevents some rituals to be performed; even though, it is righteous to allow them perform those rituals. These issues must be regarded as the Muslims’ demands, which should not be forgotten,” he added.

He also condemned the 2015 Hajj stampede in which hundreds of people died – including many Iranians.

However, Bahrain’s Al Khalifa praised Saudi’s handling of the Hajj, saying the kingdom carried out its responsibilities “without any claim, noise or political exploitation”.

He hailed efforts being exerted by the kingdom to ensure that “all pilgrims are safe and secure amid a comfortable atmosphere and tranquility”.

Al Khalifa also pointed to the Saudi royal directives affirming that Hajj is accessible to all, SPA reported.

Saudi Arabia has so far welcomed tens of thousands of pilgrims from across the world – including Iran.

More than 85,000 Iranians are expected to make the pilgrimage this year, according to officials.

Also read: Saudi says will welcome Qatari pilgrims for Hajj

The five-day Hajj ritual, expected to begin on August 19, is a once-in-a-lifetime religious duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. Pilgrims retrace the route Prophet Mohammad took 14 centuries ago in what is the largest annual gathering of Muslims.

Read: Muslims begin annual hajj pilgrimage in Makkah

The 2017 Hajj season saw more than 2.35 million pilgrims converge on Makkah including 1.75 million from outside Saudi Arabia.

Read: In pics: Hajj 2017 ends, more than 2.35m pilgrims take part

 

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