The Council of Pakistani Scholars has denounced new attempts by Qatar to politicize the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage, which was seen during the Hajj seasonlast year.
The head of the Council of Pakistani Scholars Sheikh Taher Mahmoud al-Ashrafi said that the attempt to “politicize Hajj” and the Two Holy Mosques is a dangerous plot that shows the “State of Qatar following in the footsteps of Iran, which has called for this malicious attempt before.”
In July, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister called what he said was Qatar’s demand for an internationalization of the Hajj a declaration of war against the kingdom.
“Qatar’s demands to internationalize the holy sites is aggressive and a declaration of war against the kingdom,” Adel al-Jubeir was quoted saying on Al Arabiya’s website.
Ashrafi added in a press statement that Pakistani scholars consider the attempt to “politicize Hajj and the Two Holy Mosques is a serious plot against Islamic sanctities, and can only be considered as a war on the Two Holy Mosques.”
He called on Qatar to avoid the use of Hajj and the Two Holy Mosques to achieve political goals, stressing that the Muslim world trusts in the leadership and people of Saudi Arabia, and its ability to manage the Hajj in the best way.
Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states severed transport and trade ties with Qatar last June, citing its alleged support for terrorism and Iran – charges Doha denies.
During the last Hajj pilgrimage season, Riyadh said it would aid the travel of Qataris to Hajj in a move initially welcomed by Doha, but Saudi Arabia complained that its planes had yet to receive landing permits for the rite beginning at the end of August.
Qatar’s Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs then appeared to have suspended registration for the pilgrimage, after a message on their registration website indicated it was closed for the time being.