Saudi considers cancelling Haj for first time

(150926) -- MECCA, Sept. 26, 2015 (Xinhua) -- Muslim pilgrims head to attend Hajj rituals in Mina outside Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 26, 2015. The death toll in Thursday's stampede in Mina, neighboring the holy city Mecca, has risen to 769, Saudi Health Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Saturday. The accident took place amid a rush of the stoning as part of Hajj rituals. Muslim pilgrims throw stones on a wall representing devil. (Xinhua)
Muslim pilgrims head to attend Hajj rituals in Mina outside Mecca, Saudi Arabia. (Xinhua)

Saudi Arabian authorities were considering cancelling the annual Haj pilgrimage season for the first time since the establishment of the Kingdom in 1932, after the number of coronavirus infections exceeded 100,000, a senior official said.

“The case has been carefully studied and various scenarios are being considered. A formal decision will be taken within a week,” Gulf News quoted the official in the Saudi Ministry of Haj and Umrah as saying to the UK’s Financial Times daily.

The pilgrimage, which is scheduled for late July this year, is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, with more than two million devotees visiting the Kingdom to perform Islamic rituals.

Saudi Arabia could also consider drastically cutting the number of pilgrims arriving for Haj.

RIYADH, Nov. 20, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (C, Front) attends the 7th session of the Shura Council in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Nov. 20, 2019. Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said on Wednesday that the revenues of the Saudi Aramco's initial public offering will be channelled to Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund to boost investment inside and outside the kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported. (Xinhua/IANS) by .
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (C, Front) (Xinhua/IANS)

Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, has cancelled participation of its citizens in the Haj, the Gulf News reported on Friday.

Approximately 220,000 people from Indonesia used to participate yearly.

On Friday, Malaysia also confirmed that it will not be sending pilgrims for this year’s Haj season.

The other countries who have also cancelled are Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand and Brunei.

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