Qatar accuses Saudi Arabia of politicising Hajj

Qatar accuses Saudi Arabia of politicising Hajj

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Qatar has accused Saudi Arabia of politicising the Hajj, claiming Riyadh has imposed restrictions on Qatari nationals planning to travel to Mecca for the annual Muslim pilgrimage.

Qatar’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said on Saturday that Qatari citizens have been told they can only enter Saudi Arabia through two airports and that they must travel via Doha to be allowed in.

This would be challenging for Qataris who do not live in Doha, such as those studying abroad.

The NHRC said it has filed a complaint with the UN special rapporteur on freedom of belief and religion over the restrictions, which it said were in “stark violation of international laws and agreements that guarantee the right to worship”.

The restrictions are part of a boycott launched on June 5 by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, which saw the group sever diplomatic ties with Qatar and impose a blockade. They accuse Qatar of funding “terrorism”, allegations Qatar has strongly denied.

The four Arab states cut transport links with Qatar, and Saudi Arabia has closed the peninsula’s only land border.

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