Illegal Firms / Agents luring innocent Pilgrims with Cheap Hajj Offers

Illegal Firms / Agents luring innocent Pilgrims with Cheap Hajj Offers

The unprecedented instances of Pilgrims dying during this year's Hajj have exposed the nexus of illegal firms that are luring pilgrims with fake and cheap offers and exposing them to misery...

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Recent tragic deaths of over 1,300 pilgrims during the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia have highlighted the issue of illegal travel agents exploiting Muslims seeking to fulfill their religious obligations.

Saudi authorities reported that the number of pilgrims reached 1.8 million this year. An estimated 83% of the fatalities occurred during the 2024 Hajj season, primarily among undocumented pilgrims.

A senior Saudi official stated that around 400,000 undocumented individuals attempted the pilgrimage this year. These pilgrims, lacking proper documentation, often avoid authorities even when in need of help.

The costs of performing Hajj has been rising exponentially. If one compares the cost of Hajj charged by the Government agency as against that charged by a private operator, it is a no brainer that people seeking to redeem themselves are duped by these fraudsters in the name of cheap pilgrimage.

Saudi authorities announced they refused entry to over 300,000 people for lacking valid Haj permits. They also warned that transporting unauthorized pilgrims could result in up to 6 months imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 Saudi Riyal per unauthorized pilgrim.

Most deaths occurred during the Arafat rituals, that takes place in the outskirts of Makkah. The victims included 660 Egyptians, 165 Indonesians, 98 Indians, and dozens more from Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Malaysia, and other countries.

The Saudi government has faced criticism for delayed actions regarding the mass fatalities, especially concerning the elderly and women. Despite regulations and security around Makkah, many undocumented pilgrims were left to fend for themselves in extreme heat.

In response to the tragedy, several countries have taken action. Tunisia’s president fired the religious affairs minister. Jordan's public prosecutor launched an investigation into illegal Haj routes. Egypt revoked the licenses of 16 companies issuing visas without adequate services.

Source: Media Reports

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