The Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK (ABH), a National Hajj/Umrah specific organization working for the welfare and wellbeing of pilgrims, has welcomed the warning of tough penalties issued by the Ministry of Hajj, Saudi Arabia to hotels and tour and travel operators that charge extortionate prices for Hajj/Umrah packages. The Saudi Hajj Ministry has also set up a committee to monitor the prices of these packages. This action has been taken in response to the worsening situation of exploitation of the pilgrims.
ABH also shares the concerns of millions of Muslims worldwide regarding the extortionate prices being charged by the Hajj/Umrah service providers, including airlines, making it extremely difficult for Muslims to fulfil their religious obligations.
ABH condones the actions of these rogue and unscrupulous service providers who prey on vulnerable pilgrims, including sick, elderly and the disabled, through unjustified prices for their services. It is a total rip-off compared to similar travel packages to other travel destinations around the world, in view that many pilgrims are likely to have spent their life-savings to fulfil their desires and wishes to perform their religious obligations. Some service providers, including airlines, are taking undue advantage of vulnerable Hajj/Umrah travellers by acting in an inappropriate manner. This sort of exploitation of vulnerable travellers is illegal, immoral and unethical, therefore it should not be allowed in this civilized world.
ABH strongly urges all relevant authorities, including civil aviation, to take this responsibility seriously. Stern actions should be taken to eliminate malpractice and illegal activities of Hajj/Umrah service providers in order to allow the pilgrims to perform their religious obligations without undue financial stress, hardship or difficulty.