Qatar Crisis: Saudi Arabia re-opens border to allow Mecca pilgrimage

Qatar Crisis: Saudi Arabia re-opens border to allow Mecca pilgrimage

The king of the country will allow residents to fly to two airports to complete the tradition

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Saudi Arabia has temporarily re-opened the border with Qatar in order to allow its people to take part in the Islamic tradition of Hajj.

Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest of all cities for Muslims. It must be carried out at least once by adults who are capable of making the journey. 

In order to allow residents of Qatar to take part, the king of Saudi Arabia ordered the borders be opened to grant them passage. 

A number of countries in the Persian Gulf - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates - cut ties with Qatar over claims the government in Doha was bolstering instability in the region. 

These accusations have been firmly denied by Qatar, and as the tension escalated, the Qatari government leveled accusations that Saudi was using Hajj for political purposes by refusing to guarantee the safety of Qatari citizens. 

Now, residents will be able to fly to two airports in Saudi Arabia in order to complete the pilgrimage to Mecca. 

The National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) in Qatar welcomed this decision, but admitted the directive was vague, demanding all pilgrims are treated equally and without discrimination.