Preventing Qataris from performing Umrah a new chapter in politicisation of religious rites: Al Raya
January 04 2018 10:43 AM


Qatari newspaper, Al-Raya, said that using religious rites in the existing political differences by the Saudi authorities is not new, in light of the ongoing siege, air embargo and the closure of the land border with the State of Qatar.

In its editorial on Thursday, Al-Raya noted that Saudi Arabia has continued to take arbitrary measures on the right to freedom of worship and religious practice. These practices included banning Qatari pilgrims from entering Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah despite their arrival in the Holy Land and the financial losses.

The Saudi authorities deported a group of Qatari nationals from Jeddah airport while they were on their way to perform Umrah and returned them to Kuwait. This action represents a new chapter in the politicization of religious rituals, which confirms the insistence of Saudi Arabia on the politicization of religious rites to serve political interests, the paper said.

Such behavior is not acceptable religiously or morally and should not be tolerated, the paper added, demanding the Saudi authorities to explain this position which affirms its insistence on continuing politicization of religious rites and using them as a tool for political pressure despite its recognition that this behavior is unacceptable, constitutes a flagrant violation of international conventions, and is contrary to the teachings of Islam, tolerance and morality.

It is unacceptable and unjustified to deprive 20 Qatari nationals who traveled from Kuwait to perform Umrah in the Holy Land and return them to Kuwait after two days in detention at the airport and ill-treatment, Al-Raya underlined, stressing that the Saudi authorities bear full responsibility for the issue of pilgrims from Qatar, and should be aware that the attempts to politicize religious rites and preventing Qatari pilgrims from performing the ritual are intolerable and involve grave risks and consequences.

The competent authorities in the State of Qatar, such as the National Human Rights Committee, have the right to internationalize this issue in order to preserve the rights of Qatari pilgrims, especially in light of the clear intention of the Saudi authorities to politicize religious rites and engage them in the political differences with Qatar, Al-Raya concluded. 

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