Indonesia cancels departure of Hajj pilgrims this year


Amid the ongoing pandemic, Indonesia has decided against sending pilgrims for Hajj this year as the country has yet to receive an invitation from the Saudi Arabian government, an official said on Thursday.


Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims, is a mandatory religious duty that must be carried out at least once in a lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable.


Minister for Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said the step was taken after considering the health and safety of the pilgrims amid the relentless coronavirus pandemic.


“Because we are still in a pandemic and for the safety of the pilgrims, the government has decided that this year we will not send Indonesian pilgrims,” Qoumas told a virtual press conference.


The minister said the country has yet to receive an invitation from the Saudi government for the 2021 Hajj pilgrimage.


“Not only Indonesia but all countries. So, until now no country has received a quota, because the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding has not been done," he said.

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