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188,747 illegal pilgrims turned back from Makkah
September 5, 2016, 8:59 am
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Despite massive awareness campaigns thousands of pilgrims turned back from Haj each year due to invalid permits

The total number of people who planned to perform Haj, but were turned back and denied entry into Makkah for lack of the required permit has reached 188,747, the head of police in the city said.

The authorities also refused to allow 84,965 cars to proceed to the city after their drivers failed to present the official document required to perform Haj, Saeed Bin Salem Al Qarni said.

He added that the security operations to ensure a smooth Haj in which only those in possession of permits could go into Makkah have so far dealt with 22 illegal Haj operators.

“Our operations will continue to make sure that everybody complies with the laws and regulations,” Al Qarni said as he briefed the media on the latest developments regarding Haj.

Checkpoints

He said that 109 checkpoints had been set up around the holy city to ensure security and verify the documents of all those wishing to enter.

Covert security teams have also been involved in the operations to help ensure a smooth pilgrimage, he added, Saudi news site Sabq reported on Monday.

With around three million Muslims expected to perform Haj this year, and in a bid to ensure it is incident-free, Saudis have been keen on applying a strict policy.

Haj is the fifth pillar of Islam, which requires able-bodied Muslims to perform the pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime.

Saudis have repeatedly warned pilgrims to ensure their documents are in order before traveling to Makkah.

Despite massive awareness campaigns in their countries of origin, thousands of would-be pilgrims are turned back every year. Many people are also duped by non-accredited Haj operators, looking to make a quick buck.

The Haj season, based on the Islamic lunar calendar, is set to begin on September 10 and last for five days.

Source: Gulf News

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