Saudi Arabia set to ban foreigners from haj for second year

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Saudi Arabia set to ban foreigners from haj for second year

Kingdom had a plan to boost pilgrimage numbers as part of its economic reform, but that was before Covid-19 struck

Aziz El Yaakoubi and Marwa Rashad

Saudi Arabia is considering barring overseas pilgrims from the annual haj for the second year running as Covid-19 cases rise globally and worries grow about the emergence of new variants, two sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Such a move would restrict the pilgrimage to Mecca, a once in a lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it, to Saudi nationals and residents of the kingdom who were vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19.

While discussions about a possible ban have taken place, there has been no final decision on whether to pursue it, they said...

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