Key note speaker Tan Sri Abi, Chairman of Tabung Haji Malaysia – a government body which is chiefly responsible for managing pilgrims from Malaysia lauded the organizers for convening the conference for the first time in UK and said some 3 million Muslims from across the world perform Hajj every year of which 25000 go from Britain . Similarly some 8 million Muslims from all over the world annually visit Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah of them 66000 are from Britain. That means that the Hajj and Umrah sector is very important.
Ibrahim Al-Itani, Head of Lebanon’s Hajj Association, commented: “I have been involved in the Lebanon Hajj Commission since 1985, this was an important event for it brought us together, as we simply don’t meet. It was such an important meeting that we would like to request support from Lebanon’s government to hold next year’s WHUC in Beirut.”
Lord Adam Patel, House of Lords, and Patron of the WHUC said:
“It was a pleasure and great honour to have shared such special insights with the global Hajj & Umrah industry for the betterment of pilgrims. We look to Malaysia as they have set a high benchmark for service provision to pilgrims and will aim to deliver this as soon as possible”.
Malam Muhammad Musa Bello Chairman of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria Commented:
“The WHUC was truly an eye opener on how the servants of the guests of Allah can improve their capacitity to serve the pilgrims better”
Saudi Telecom (STC), Hisham Malhas Sales Director noted:”We have come here to understand better. There are a number key learnings we have taken from this convention and there is a lot of work that needs to be done back home to serve the pilgrims better. Things can only get better from here on”
Rashid Mogradia, Vice Chairman of the British Hajj & Umrah Council and CEO of the Council of British Hajjis said:
“The BHUC and its members are proud to be the official supporters of the World Hajj & Umrah Convention 2012 and delighted to see the array of international delegates and missions all committed to working together in servicing the guests of Almighty Allah. The formation of a united body reflecting the needs of pilgrims and service providers is essential in ensuring self-governance and excellence in service delivery and sharing of good practice for the betterment of pilgrims from around the world”.
The Council aims to unite tour operators, voluntary organisations and service providers by enhancing the reputation of the Hajj & Umrah sector in the United Kingdom and Europe.
Chairman of the WHUC2012, Mohsin Tutla, commented: “This is a world first and we as British Muslims are proud to have hosted such an event in London. Britain has been a great host to the Islamic Faith with more than 66,000 yearly Umrah journeys and the highest percentage of Umrah travellers per Muslim capita, compared to other countries.”
“During early Islam, Hajj was the bond that brought together Muslims from around the World, building bridges between cultures. Thinkers from the four corners imparted knowledge, ideas, and techniques contributing to the Golden Age of Islam. The World Hajj & Umrah Convention is presented, in an attempt to revive the spirit of seeking and sharing knowledge and new perspectives. We look forward to taking this event to countries around the world.”
Exhibitor Samer Ramadan, CEO of Pious Technologies said: “This was a great opportunity to showcase and share our hajj and Umrah technology with various delegates from numerous countries. We had more serious enquiries about our HajjMabrur.net technology with this here than at any other Hajj exhibition format. I look forward to attending at the next meeting.”
The WHUC concluded with the first ever International Hajj Excellence Award Ceremony. These awards express recognition of Hajj & Umrah operator’s and association’s commitment to providing excellent services and facilities to all pilgrims across the world. Winners included:
• Excellence in Social Progress awarded to Tabung Haji, Malaysia
• Excellence in Commerce awarded to Saudi Telecom Company, Saudi Arabia
• Excellence in Education awarded to Al Maghrib Institute, Canada
• Excellence in Technology award to Samer Ramadan of Pious Technologies, Lebanon
• Excellence in Hajj Facilitation awarded to Dome Tours, United Kingdom
• Lifetime Achievement Award awarded to Lord Adam Patel of Blackburn, British Hajj Delegation