All systems go for Haj
Saudi Arabia has launched a major media campaign ahead of the annual pilgrimage to educate Saudis and expatriate workers on the importance of obtaining Haj permits in order to help organize the largest gathering of Muslims in a better way.
Makkah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah launched The Right Way Is Haj With A Permit campaign in the city on Tuesday, aimed at preventing squatting of pilgrims in public places and controlling their number to avoid overcrowding in the holy sites.
Prince Mishaal, who is chairman of the Supreme Haj Committee, said the city is geared up for the big event. “All sectors are perfectly ready and we’ll not spare any effort in the service of the guests of Allah,” he added.
The campaign aims to ensure that only persons with permits perform the Haj and that pilgrims and service providers comply with ethical and regulatory standards.
All related ministries and government departments are participating in the campaign. The telecommunications sector, in its role as a strategic sponsor, has also been helping to create public awareness.
“We are confident that we are striving, under the direction of the Saudi leadership, to offer the best services at the holiest locations on earth,” the governor said.
Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar said the permits have been introduced to limit the numbers of pilgrims because of space constraints. This could only be achieved by allowing individuals to perform Haj once every five years.
“The introduction of the Haj permit is not to ban people from repeatedly performing the pilgrimage. It is a regulatory step taken in view of a threefold increase in the number of pilgrims which affects proper Haj organization,” he said.
The prince also launched mobile and other handheld communication devices designed to check Haj permits.
The campaign will feature promotions on satellite channels, radio, roadside screens, commercial centers and hospitals.