No More than 16,400 Russians will Perform Hajj to Mecca

Vladimir Savelyev, 29.04.2014 07:51
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The basic quota for Russian Muslims who will carry out the Hajj to Mecca this year has remained the same as last year – 20,500 pilgrims. TRN magazine received this information from Deputy Head of Russiatourism Grigory Sarishvili, who is a member of the Russian delegation of the Hajj mission, which visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to sign an agreement on the conditions of performing the Hajj to Mecca. The delegation was headed by Ilyas Umakhanov, who manages the Hajj matters in the Committee for Religious Communities of the Russian government.

Sarishvili said that this document contained the quota allotted to Russian Muslims, as well as the conditions of their accommodation and transportation to Mecca.

However, due to a massive reconstruction of Al-Haram mosque in Mecca, this quota was later reduced by 20% (16,400 people), which is the same thing that happened in 2013, said  Head of the Muslim Spiritual Board of the Tatarstan Republic Ruslan Nafisullin . Saudi authorities had already warned the Russian delegation of this possibility.

According to Sarishvili, the road map for organizing the Hajj has already been approved. The Hajj Committee of Russia will act as the coordinator of the pilgrimage, and Russiatourism will be carrying out the plan on behalf of the Russian authorities.

This year the Hajj to Mecca will be taking place in September. The quota allocation was discussed during the National Conference devoted to preparations for the Hajj, which took place at the end of March. The conference also approved the list of tour operators that will be responsible for organizing pilgrimage tours.

According to Nafisullin, Dagestan got the largest quota among the Russian regions – 6 thousand people, Chechnya – 2.6 thousand people, and 1.4 thousand pilgrims will travel to Mecca from Ingushetia. The only Russian region that saw its quota for performing the Hajj increased this year was Tatarstan. The republic will be able to send 1.8 thousand pilgrims to Mecca, which is 600 people more than last year. The increase was made possible thanks to active diplomatic work by the republic’s mufti Kamil Samigullin. The Mufti Council of Russia was allowed to send 2.5 thousand people on the Hajj; the Central Muslim Spiritual Board and Muslim Coordinating Center of the North Caucasus got the quota of 1.1 thousand people each.

According to Deputy Chairman of Dagestan’s Government Abusupyan Kharkharov, last year the republic got the quota of 6,400 people, and all pilgrims were sent to Saudi Arabia by air. This year, the tour tickets were, for the first time ever, given out through a draw that was conducted by the imams of Juma Mosques of the republic. Only those who had gone on a pilgrimage tour last year were admitted to the draw.

The price of the Hajj has increased as compared to the last year – from 138 thousand rubles to 155 thousand (the duration of the Hajj is 23-25 days, including the flights), said Nafisullin. The rise in price has to do with the Saudi Arabia Embassy’s services becoming more expensive.

For reference: as per the rules of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the ratio of calculating the Hajj quota is 1 thousand people for each 1 million Islam-practicing citizens.


 

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