FACT CHECK : Will Sri Lankan Muslims be able to go to Saudi Arabia in 2022 to perform Hajj?

Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims from all over the world.

During the month of Dulhaj (Islamic calendar) every year, Muslims living in Sri Lanka also travel to Saudi Arabia for this pilgrimage. The past two years have seen a few complications in going on this Hajj pilgrimage due to Covid-19 pandemic.

This year the Saudi Government has decided to allow entry for 1,585 Sri Lankans for pilgrimage.

https://www.newsfirst.lk/2022/06/09/sri-lankans-permitted-to-fly-for-hajj-must-transfer-us-1500-from-overseas-to-sl-dollar-account/

Also, only those under the age of 65 are allowed to perform Hajj this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Saudi Government has also said that pilgrims from abroad must have all of the Covid-19 vaccine doses, and must undergo rapid antigen testing when entering Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Government has approved one million pilgrims from around the world for Hajj this year.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/4/9/saudi-arabia-sets-limit-of-1m-hajj-pilgrims-this-year

The Government has reduced the outflow of foreign remittances from Sri Lanka to overseas due to the recent economic crisis in Sri Lanka.

Therefore, some organizations, including the National Council Tourism Organization and the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs, had unanimously decided that no one from Sri Lanka would go on the Hajj pilgrimage on 1st of June.

http://www.adaderana.lk/news/82798/sri-lankan-muslims-to-forgo-hajj-pilgrimage-this-year

However, on June 7, the Department of Muslim Religious Affairs issued a revised statement. 

Here, 

It stated that the Saudi Arabian Government has decided to allow entry for 1,585 Sri Lankans for the pilgrimage this year, and that registration should be done immediately.

We also contacted the Hajj Division of the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs to confirm this. 

Development Officer M I M Muneer, who contacted us at the time, said that they initially  did not allow the pilgrims to go on Hajj because the Government had informed them that the pilgrims did not have sufficient dollar amounts to make payments. “However, after that we came to a final decision in consultation with the Hajj agents, and as the final outcome of the decision we settled on USD1,500 as the amount to be paid by each person. All 1585 pilgrims must be under 65 years of age to be eligible for Hajj this time around. We have also uploaded a list of registered Hajj travel agents on the website. So far (as of 17th June) about 950 of us have confirmed the Hajj journey”, he said.

So far 73 Hajj travel agents have been registered with the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs.

https://muslimaffairs.gov.lk/ta/news/english-list-of-registered-hajj-travel-operators-2022/

List of Hajj travel agents registered for 2022

https://muslimaffairs.gov.lk/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Registered-Hajj-Operator-2022-2.pdf

This time 1,585 pilgrims have been granted permission to go on Hajj from Sri Lanka. Hajj pilgrims must transfer USD 1,500 from abroad to a designated dollar account in Sri Lanka. According to a report released by the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs, pilgrims have been given the opportunity to select their preferred Hajj agents for the pilgrimage based on their records.

Conclusion –  The Muslim pilgrims who visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to complete their Hajj rituals at Mecca this year can complete their pilgrimage if the above procedure by the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs is duly filled.

For more Fact Checks by Hashtag Generation, here.

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