For Palestinians on Pilgrimage to Mecca, Permits Are Not Guaranteed


A Million Stories about the Zionist Rape of This World – in pictures


PNN – Palestine News Network | 25.10.11 – 20:59| Ansar Atmayzeh

Ahmed Hamamreh, deported in 2002 after the siege of the Nativity Church in Bethlehem, has not seen his mother in nine years. This year, they had planned a memorable reunion in Saudi Arabia for Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca—but they were turned back by “technical problems.”
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Muslims gather around the Kaaba in Mecca at the end of their pilgrimage (HajjTV Image).
“I was happy because I will meet my mother for Hajj, but there were problems on the Saudi Arabian side,” Hammreh explained to PNN. “They kept asking for my telegram number.”
Saudi Arabia still issues telegrammed permits for those wishing to take part in the Hajj.
Hamamreh said he went to the Palestinian council in Madrid for help and the Palestinian ambassador was cooperative. However, the problem remained with the Palestinian Waqf (Islamic Endowments) Ministry, which manages the issuing of permits for Palestinians going on Hajj.
Hamamhreh tried to call the minister, but over and over his secretary said he was busy, and Hamamreh felt provoked. The minister was always busy, he said, and probably a liar. When he accused the agent of lying, he got a simple reply: God protect you for your time in the resistance. Hamamreh said he just wanted to pray in Mecca.
Back in Palestine, red tape prevents even more Palestinians from going on Hajj. Umm Ashraf Abu Sroor, the mother of a prisoner, cried over her luck because she applied for a Hajj permit only to have her request postponed and postponed until the Palestinian Waqf Ministry took her passport and refused to let her leave.
Umm Ashraf told PNN she knew of many people who had applied for a grant and got more than one. Who deserves a permit, she asked, if suffering families of prisoners do not?
Umm Mahmoud Salah, mother of a slain Palestinian fighter from the Second Intifada, called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to personally help her to go on Hajj this year. At 84 years old, she believes this may be her last chance to go, but she’s still waiting for the Saudi authorities to sign her permit. She, like Umm Ashraf, asks: if permits are not for the families of prisoners and martyrs, who are they for?
When PNN contacted the Palestinian Waqf Ministry, the secretary said he was not allowed to give details about specific permit requests, but he did claim Ahmed Hamamreh’s issue was “an individual issue caused by technical mistake.”
He also told PNN that Umm Ashraf was wrong to lay the blame with the Waqf Ministry and should speak instead with the Prisoners Ministry.

Source and more at the PNN – Palestine News Network





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