Governor of the Makkah region and Advisor to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Prince Khalid al-Faisal announced on Wednesday that, so far, some 558,000 pilgrims had arrived in Saudi Arabia to perform the Umrah and annual Hajj.
The pilgrims have come from all over the world, except Qatar, he revealed.
An official from the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah accused authorities in Doha of hindering citizens from performing the Hajj.
Prince Khalid, who is also Chairman of the Hajj's Central Committee, said that the largest number of pilgrims have arrived from Indonesia with 103,000. It is followed by India with 93,000 pilgrims, Pakistan with 82,000, Turkey with some 42,000 and Iraq with around 12,000.
He also condemned campaigns against Saudi Arabia that are aimed tarnishing its image. The best way the Kingdom has responded to these claims is with the good services it has offered the pilgrims.
He made his remarks during the launch of the 11th edition of the “Hajj is Worship and Civilized Behavior” campaign in Jeddah.
On the success of this campaign throughout the past ten years, he stressed: “Our ambition this year is to outdo ourselves.”
He hailed in this regard the participation of the private sector and its role in ensuring the success of the Hajj.
In addition, he commended Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz for approving the establishment of the Royal Commission for Makkah city and Holy Sites, which is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.
This commission reflects the leadership’s keenness on developing these sites and providing the best services to the worshipers, stated Prince Khalid.
On Qatar, Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Abdul Fattah Mshat said that Doha blocked a new website that the ministry had set up for Qatari pilgrims.
This is the second time that Qatar blocks the website, he stated, while not ruling out the possibility of setting up a new one in the future.
He hoped that Doha would allow the people, who have already registered, to perform the Hajj.
Saudi Arabia had on July 20 set up the new website, which was dedicated to receiving Hajj applications from Qatari pilgrims.
Doha blocked the first website in an attempt to thwart its citizens from performing the Hajj in order to politicize the annual rituals.
Separately, Iranian pilgrims hailed upon their arrival in Madinah on Tuesday the Saudi government for its significant efforts to serve them during the annual Hajj season, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
They told SPA that all services and facilities have been provided to them without discrimination.
They made their remarks to the agency upon their arrival at the Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International airport in Madinah.
They expressed their happiness at the facilities that have been provided by the Kingdom to all pilgrims, regardless of their nationality, praising the massive efforts that have been exerted to make their pilgrimage a smooth process.
One Iranian pilgrim, Hassan Turabi, highlighted the smooth passport clearance operation, noting that all pilgrims were presented with water, flowers and gifts upon their arrival in the Kingdom.