25,000 residents may perform Haj

ABU DHABI — More than 25,000 UAE residents are expected to perform Haj this year, official sources have said.

By Adel Arafah

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Published: Fri 7 Oct 2005, 11:51 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:48 PM

Saudi authorities have set a quota of 25,500 pilgrims this year for both local and expatriate Muslims living in the UAE. A letter to that effect was received by the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Auqaf from the Saudi Ministry of Haj. Of that figure, 10,000 are nationals and 15,500 resident expatriates from different nationalities.

Hamad Al Mu’alla, Acting Director of the Pilgrimage Department at the Justice Ministry, told Khaleej Times that Saudi authorities this year “stress the need to stick to the quotas allowed for each country. It is for the first time that GCC citizens who do not carry an official permit in the shape of a sticker or card will not be allowed to make it to the holy city of Makkah,” he said. GCC citizens can move freely within the GCC territories by their identity cards.

Al Mu’alla stated that the ministry would take all the necessary measures to ensure that the new instructions, which treat all GCC states on an equal footing, were observed. On the number of Arabs and Asians allowed to go to the pilgrimage, he said all resident expatriates would share the aforesaid 15,500 slots between them. “However, as for breaking up the number among Arabs and others, it will be dealt with by Haj contractors on the principle of ‘first come-first served’,” he confirmed.

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