Expats, Saudis were allowed to host overseas Muslims to undertake umrah
Saudi Arabia has cancelled a plan allowing its citizens and foreign Muslim residents to host relatives from abroad to perform umrah or lesser pilgrimage, dubbed the “host umrah” project, a Saudi official has said.
Three years ago, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah unveiled the plan designed to allow Saudis and expatriates to host three to five people to undertake umrah in the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Okaz newspaper reported.
“The project has been cancelled and will not be implemented,” Okaz quoted the ministry’s spokesman Hesham bin Saeed as saying without giving an explanation.
The now-scrapped project envisaged allowing foreign residents to host first-degree relatives and Saudi citizens to host any Muslim from outside the kingdom to undertake umrah.
The host was to be responsible for taking care of the umrah guests until their departure with the possibility of repeating the hosting process three times per year, according to Okaz.
The new umrah season in Saudi Arabia is due to start on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the lunar Islamic calendar expected to begin on July 30 according to astronomical calculations.
Authorities in the kingdom have geared up for the new season that is expected to draw more than 10 million Muslims.
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