26th May 2023. London.
Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hajj and Umrah met with the Saudi Ambassador to the UK HRH Prince Khalid Bin Bandar Al-Saud to feedback issues raised by British Muslims over the new Hajj booking platform.
Yasmin Qureshi MP (Chair), Imran Hussain MP (Senior Vice-Chair) and Rashid Mogradia from CBHUK (APPG Secretariat) shared concerns raised with them from members of the public over the challenges experienced in booking a Hajj package on the new system.
The APPG also raised issued on the reduced UK Hajj quota and its impact on British Muslims being able to fulfil their religious obligations of Hajj on time.
The Ambassador praised the hard work of the APPG and gave assurances that he would personally investigate the issues raised. His Excellency committed to working closely with the APPG and endeavoured to meet regularly to listen to any issues or concerns and to assist as required, and committed to a thorough review and reform of the broader issues faced by Hajj pilgrims from the UK.
In response to the issue of the UK Hajj quota, His Excellency sympathised that certain countries (including the UK) had in previous years been allocated more Hajj quotas compared to other countries. He emphasised that the Ministry of Hajj & Umrah had a challenge to apply a fair Hajj quota allocation system right across the world, and for this reason a formula of ‘one pilgrim per thousand’ of the Muslim population of a country was being applied. However, he gave assurances to the APPG that he would review this and look at ways in which the quota could be increased.
The Ambassador further assured those who were experiencing technical and booking issues on the Hajj booking portal that a member of the Nusuk team had arrived from Saudi Arabia to the Embassy and would be working to resolve these issues directly. He urged those affected to log a ticket with firstname.lastname@example.org and then to email UKCon@mofa.gov.sa so that this could be escalated.
The APPG during their recent official delegation to Saudi Arabia raised issues on the Hajj bookings of 2022 on the Motawif platform which saw the Ministry of Hajj offer British Muslims that were affected compensation for services that were not delivered.
Speaking after the meeting, Chair of the APPG, Yasmin Qureshi MP said:
“I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to the Saudi Ambassador HRH Prince Khalid for meeting with us today and giving us the assurances to look into issues we raised. We look forward to working with the Embassy in collaborating our efforts in serving British Muslims undertaking Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages”.
Senior Vice-Chair of the APPG, Imran Hussain MP said:
“The issues faced by many Muslims in the UK during Hajj this year have been very troubling, and I’m therefore pleased that following the APPG’s delegation to Saudi Arabia earlier this year where we raised our concerns with Ministers and officials, the Ambassador has confirmed he’ll be working to act on the findings of our delegation.”
Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hajj & Umrah met with the Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom HRH Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud. Wednesday 24th May 2023. London. (Image copyright of CBHUK).
Members of the APPG on Hajj & Umrah met with H.E. Deputy Minister of #Hajj_and_Umrah Dr Abdul Fatah Al Mashat and the Ministry of Hajj & Umrah team where they discussed the current Umrah season, upcoming Hajj 2023 & services for British Pilgrims which will be available via the official Nusuk Hajj portal soon. Tuesday 14th Feb 2023. (Image copyright of Ministry of Hajj & Umrah)