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UK Parliament Hajj Debrief a Great Success

UK Hajj Debrief a Great Success

The Council of British Hajjis hosted a historic Hajj debrief meeting in the UK Parliament on Wednesday bringing together pilgrims, British Hajj & Umrah tour operators from across the UK, academics, MP’s and Peers from both Houses of Parliament. The purpose of the meeting was to bring all stakeholders together and discuss the recent hajj season with a view to put plans in place for Hajj 2016.

Rashid Mogradia, Chief Executive of the Council of British Hajjis hosting the event said “the Council will continue to work tirelessly again this season to ensure contingencies are in place for British pilgrims by lobbying our Government to support British nationals during Hajj as in previous years and just as other nationalities do the same for their citizens”

“Whist the Saudi Authorities are doing an excellent job, we must ensure British pilgrims and tour operators alike play their part and be aware of their own responsibilities, this is why the Council of British Hajjis will focus further in educating pilgrims prior to departure.

We would like to thank HH Prince Mohammed Bin Nawaf, the Consul Mr Bandar Al Zaid at the Saudi Embassy in London and the Custodian of the Two holy Mosques, King Salman for services offered to the thousands of British pilgrims. We have witnessed first hand the dedication and services provided to pilgrims and these have improved year on year and we look forward to seeing further improvements namely the grand expansion of Masjid Al Haram in Makkah and Masjid Nabawi in Madinah all of which looks to increase pilgrim numbers.”

The meeting was partnered by the Islamic Cultural Centre London (ICC).

In attendance was Mr Bandar Al Zaid from the Saudi Embassy in London. He said that the consulate team were there to serve the guest of Allah and that the team regularly worked long hours to ensure pilgrim visas were processed in time.

Dr Ahmed Al Dubayan, Director General of the Islamic Cultural Centre London (ICC) said that Hajj was one of the five pillars of Islam, and one which every stakeholder should work towards serving the guests of Almighty Allah. The ICC had a long standing role in serving pilgrims and advising them of pre-Hajj rites and to address issues of fraud within the community which was un-Islamic.   He called on the industry to deliver their promises for a pleasant Hajj experience.

Commander Chris Greany from the City of London Police reaffirmed his forces commitment in tackling Hajj Fraud. Whilst the numbers of Hajj Fraud reports had dropped, this was still due to under reporting and called on the community to report fraudulent activity.

Yasmin Qureshi MP who sponsored the event thanked the Saudi Embassy for their hard work in swiftly processing pilgrim visas especially during the tragic incidents which took place at Hajj this year. She said “When approximately 25,000 Britons travel to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage each year it is crucial for policy makers and parliamentarians to discuss the safety challenges posed to pilgrims. The tragedy in Mina reminds us of the importance of working closely with Saudi Arabian authorities to ensure the greatest care is taken in planning and improving safety precautions”

The Council launched its own review at the event in Parliament in Hajj Organising from the UK and will be consulting with key stakeholders in preparations for Hajj 2016. A historic Memorandum of understanding was signed by the Council of British Hajjis and the Islamic Cultural Centre for greater co-ordination of Information during Hajj.

Parliamentary attendees included Lord Adam Patel, Baroness Uddin, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Shabana Mahmood MP amongst others.