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Warning on last minute Hajj package deals

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hajj & Umrah has issued a warning to British Muslims thinking of booking a lastminute Hajj package.

The Member of Parliament for Bolton South East and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hajj & Umrah Ms Yasmin Qureshi said:

“As we approach the Hajj season, it is crucial that all British pilgrims exercise caution when booking their pilgrimage. The Nusuk platform has been designed to provide a secure and transparent booking process for pilgrims from over 126 countries, including the United Kingdom. I strongly urge everyone to use the official Nusuk portal for all bookings.

Booking through third-party agents outside of this official system exposes pilgrims to significant risks of fraud, as we have unfortunately witnessed in previous years. Unscrupulous individuals often exploit the deep emotional desire to perform Hajj, preying on those who may be desperate to secure their place.

To ensure a safe and spiritually fulfilling journey, please adhere to the official channels provided by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. Let us work together to protect our community from potential scams and to make this sacred pilgrimage a secure and blessed experience for all.”

‘I originally set up the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hajj and Umrah because of the very issue of fraudulent or sub-standard packages being sold, leading to problems with the Saudi authorities. The APPG has done a lot of work over recent years to facilitate better working relationships and communication with the Saudi agencies.

The UK Hajj quota was slashed from the annual 25,000 pre Covid to 3,500 in 2023 under the new system to make it fairer for all Muslim from around the world to perform Hajj by  allowing 1 pilgrim per 1000 of the Muslim population of the country.  “Following a productive meeting with the Saudi Ambassador earlier this year, I am pleased to announce that the Hajj quota for British pilgrims has been doubled to just over 7,000 this year and that all places have been filled and all packages sold out.  I would like to thank the Ministry of Hajj & Umrah for allowing this increase so that more British Muslims can undertake this Journey of faith”.

Although the system has changed for Hajj, there are still some people that are unaware the only way to book the Hajj is through the online Nusuk Hajj portal.

There are many still attempting to take advantage of this lack of knowledge by sell packages without going through this system. The Saudi authorities are cracking down on this and have launched the  “No Hajj without a Permit” campaign to raise awareness with serious consequences of fines and deportation for anyone caught in Makkah during the Hajj season without a valid Hajj permit.

Anyone who fears they have been a victim of Hajj fraud, please don’t suffer in silence or feel embarrassed about coming forward. It is very important that you report the crime to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. We cannot respond to the threat and put a stop to it without information. This will help protect the community from these crimes.’

I wish to thank the Honourable Member for Cities of London and Westminster for raising this important topic in the Parliament adjournment debate.

A spokesperson for CBHUK (Secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hajj & Umrah said:

“The introduction of the Nusuk Hajj portal appears to have made significant strides in reducing Hajj fraud. This new platform, managed by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, centralizes and streamlines the booking process for pilgrims from 126 countries including the United Kingdom, enhancing security and transparency.

One of the primary ways Nusuk combats fraud is by ensuring that all transactions and bookings are handled directly through the official portal. Pilgrims are advised to avoid third-party agents and only use the Nusuk Hajj platform. This minimizes the chances of falling victim to fraudulent schemes, as all official packages and authorized service providers are listed on the platform.

Moreover, the portal includes features such as profile verification and e-wallet activation, which further secure the booking process. Users must upload their documents for verification, and once approved, they can safely browse and book Hajj packages through the portal. This multi-step verification process helps ensure that only legitimate transactions take place.

In addition to these security measures, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has been proactive in warning pilgrims about potential scams and advising them to stick to the official Nusuk Hajj platform. The ministry’s efforts to educate and inform pilgrims about the risks of using unauthorized channels have been crucial in reducing fraud.

Overall, while no system can completely eliminate fraud, the Nusuk Hajj portal has significantly reduced the risk by providing a secure, centralized platform for all Hajj-related transactions and by continuously educating pilgrims on safe practices which CBHUK and the APPG on Hajj & Umrah continues to echo”.