Egypt’s Awqaf minister rejects Qatar’s call to internationalize Saudi holy sites

General view of the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

:: Egyptian Minister of Awqaf (Religious Endowments), Mohamed Mokhtar Jumaa, rejected on Saturday Qatar’s request to internationalize Saudi Arabia’s holy sites

Senior scholars from the Cairo-based Al-Azhar, the world’s leading institution on Sunni Islam, have also rejected these calls.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Sunday “Qatar’s request to internationalize the holy sites is an aggressive act and a declaration of war against the kingdom.”

“We reserve the right to respond to any party working in the field of internationalization of the holy sites,” Al-Jubeir said in an interview with Al Arabiya and Al Hadath on the sidelines of the four-way meeting in Manama.

Previously, Jubeir rejected Qatar’s attempts to politicize Hajj matters and reiterated that Qataris were welcome to perform the pilgrimage.

“Saudi Arabia rejects Qatar’s attempt to politicize the arrival of Qatari pilgrims into the kingdom,” Jubeir said during a press conference with his Emirati, Bahraini and Egyptian counterparts in Manama.

“The kingdom’s history is clear in facilitating the arrival of pilgrims,” he added.

Hajj pilgrims from around the world have started arriving to Saudi Arabia to prepare for the pilgrimage. But, no one from Qatar has come yet despite the Kingdom’s constant calls welcoming them.

A Saudi official said that Qatar is banning its citizens from performing Hajj. Qatar has not announced the reason behind the closure yet.

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