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September 19, 2012 (TSR) – Saudi Arabia has barred Syrians from entering the country to perform the annual Muslim hajj pilgrimage, Syrian state media, SANA said Tuesday, marking the latest break between the two Arab nations.
The Higher committee for Pilgrimage in Syria said that the pilgrimage (Hajj) will be halted this year as the Saudi Ministry of Pilgrimage didn’t issue the Hajj agreement in its date and due to a failure to reach consensus with the Saudi authorities.
In a statement issued Monday, the Committee said that “Despite the committee did all needed procedures for the Pilgrimage season for the year 1433H, 2012 AD as the Saudi Pilgrimage Ministry didn’t issued the agreement in its date.”
The Syrian committee “took all necessary steps for the 2012 hajj season, but the relevant ministry in Saudi Arabia did not sign the accord as it does every year,” SANA said.
The hajj to Mecca — the world’s largest annual human assembly — is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all those Muslims who are able to.
Syria has been fighting off “outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups” causing unrest being orchestrated from abroad since March 2011.