Saudi Government Open Doors For Qatari Pilgrims Despite Political Conflict

Rich dignitaries from the Gulf state have made a blacklist of Qatari-owned hotels in London. They include Claridge’s, the Connaught and the Berkeley

Saudi Arabia said today it is reopening its border with Qatar to allow Qataris to attend the hajj amid a monthslong rift between the neighbouring countries that led to both sides trading accusations of politicising the ritual.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered the opening of the Salwa border crossing to allow Qatari pilgrims to enter the country and has also arranged to fly in other Qatari pilgrims from Doha and nearby cities.

Committee head Ali bin Smeikh al-Marri called on the Saudi authorities to "facilitate Hajj procedures and remove restrictions" facing Qatari pilgrims.

Qatari foreign minister said on July 31 that the crisis should be solved through diplomacy without touching Qatar's sovereignty and made it clear that Qatar will not accept any demands that are not in line with global law.

In June, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, cutting all air, land and sea links and imposed economic sanctions. Saudi Arabia sealed Qatar's only land border.

"The facilitation of Qatari Hajj pilgrims ordered by King Salman have never been done before for any Islamic country and even under regular circumstances", Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said in a tweet Thursday. Qatar response on it was that the Saudi government is politicizing Hajj.

"Qatar's politicization of Hajj must come to an end following the initiative taken by King Salman", Gargash said.

Qatar had previously filed a complaint with the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of belief and religion over restrictions placed on its nationals who wanted to attend the hajj this year. The pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam and all Muslims who can must perform it at least once in their lives.

Relations between Qatar and its neighbors have fallen apart since June 5 after the bloc accused the tiny emirate of supporting terrorism. Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Qatar's complaint amounted to a "declaration of war" against the kingdom's management of the holy sites. Also, the doors of Saudi Airports would be open for the pilgrims.

Doha, for its part, strenuously denies accusations that it supports terrorism, describing attempts to isolate it as "unjustified" and in breach of worldwide law.



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