Saudi Gazette report LONDON — The British Haj Delegation (BHD), a new charitable organization, was launched at the Islamic Cultural Centre in London on September 29.The new organization is headed by Lord Adam Patel, the former leader of the official British Haj Delegation from 2001-2009. Since 2000 the British government had been sending a British consular delegation responsible for the pilgrims.
Dr. Ahmad Al-Dubayan, Director General of the Islamic Cultural Centre, welcomed the new organization and cited the remarkable initiative by the British Muslim community to help Hajis. He said that as far as he knew, there was no similar organization in Germany, France, Italy, Spain or any other country in Europe. He also said that it was now the Muslim community’s task to continue this initiative and to let it flourish and develop.
On behalf of the British Muslim community, Dr. Dubayan acknowledged the efforts of the Saudi Embassy in the UK for tackling problems related to the facilitation of the Hajis. He also appreciated the continuous support of Abdul Rahman Al-Aneezi, Counsellor of the Saudi Embassy in UK.
The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia was also praised for providing commendable services to the Hajis every year.
Dr. Dubayan further said that taking care of around four million Hajis who come from all walks of life is not an easy feat. He said that managing a pilgrimage of such a magnitude every year is indeed remarkable because the guests of Allah are given special care and attention.
Al-Aneezi said that Haj is a true reflection of the principles of Islam because all Muslims stand equally in the eyes of God. He said that the occasion of Haj is a golden opportunity for Muslims, as they can learn more about their brothers and sisters in Islam who hail from different countries, highlighting that Islam teaches the message of compassion, tolerance, care, and cooperation with others.
Al-Aneezi further said that the Saudi authorities are always devising ways to improve their services at the two Holy Mosques in order to meet the needs of the proliferating number of Hajis every year. He also enlightened the audience about the plan of King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, to expand the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
Patel said that the main aim of the BHD is to take care of the British pilgrims and other Hajis in Makkah, praising the commitment and selfless dedication of the doctors who voluntarily give up 16 days of their time each year.
Patel said that according to a report commissioned by the UK Government Foreign and Commonwealth Office, an estimated amount of around one million pounds is saved every year because of the work carried out by the BHD. He said in the last 11 years they have supported over 30,000 people.
He also said that if the Olympics and Paralympics hosted in London took so much planning, then one can imagine the amount of time and work that goes into the care of the large number of Hajis every year.
Impressed by the Saudi government’s ability to meet the challenges every year, Patel highlighted the works done at some of the key holy sites. These include the expansion of the Haram and the Jamarat, the Mashair train that runs between Makkah, Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat, among many others. He also thanked the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to London Prince Mohammad Bin Nawaf and his officials for their unrelenting support over the years.
Dr. Ali Hamed S. Al-Ghamdi, Health Attache from the Saudi Cultural Bureau in UK, said that during the Olympics the UK government sought advice from the Saudi government on crowd control.
Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, and Baroness Paula Uddin also addressed the gathering and promised cooperation.
Source: Saudi Gazette
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