The Azeri newspaper Serq, published in Baku, has reported that some Islamic countries are voicing their criticism against the way the Saudi kingdom is running hajj rituals.
Here’s IFP’s translation of the report, which was covered by IRNA.
Nigerians and Yemenis have barred their citizens from going on the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
In an address to the Nigerian nation, their government has announced, “Instead of traveling to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage to the house of God and pouring millions of dollars into the pockets of Arab Sheikhs, you’d better visit the symbolic house of God in your own country.”
It further pointed to Iranians who were barred from this year’s Hajj due to Saudis’ stonewalling.
Serq quoted a political analyst named Arif Ismayilov as saying, “Saudi Arabia’s failure to learn a lesson from the Hajj disaster last year caused some countries to change their minds on sending pilgrims to Mecca.”
Ismayilov added that although the Nigerian government’s action is not religious in nature, it is a form of protest against Saudi Arabia.
He pointed to the colossal number of deaths in last year’s Hajj in Mina, which exposed ineptitude of Saudi rulers, and said, “Most pilgrims crushed in the disaster were from Iran and Nigeria.”
He added that a while ago more than one million Yemenis voiced their protest at the policies of Saudi rulers and held the symbolic stoning of Satan (which is part of Hajj rituals) in their own country.
Although the number of pilgrims was less than previous years, reports have been released of problems hampering the performance of Hajj rituals, Ismayilov regretted.
He said the recent protests of Islamic states against Saudi Arabia are due to the Al Saud’s unfriendly stance towards Muslims.
Referring to the fatwa issued by a Saudi mufti in an Islamic country and in the heart of Mecca for killing Shiites, Ismayilov voiced his disappointment of Saudi rulers and concluded, “It is a must for Saudi Arabia to reform its policies, otherwise conflicts are bound to increase in the Muslim world.”