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Indonesia seeks Saudi help over suspension of entry for Umrah pilgrimage

Jumat, 28 Februari 2020 / 09:02 WIB
Indonesia seeks Saudi help over suspension of entry for Umrah pilgrimage
ILUSTRASI. Muslim pilgrims wear protective face masks to prevent contracting coronavirus, as they arrive at the Grand mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia February 27, 2020. REUTERS/Ganoo Essa

Sumber: Reuters | Editor: Yudho Winarto

KONTAN.CO.ID - ​JAKARTA. Indonesia's foreign minister on Thursday urged Saudi Arabia to allow its citizens to continue their Umrah pilgrimage after hundreds were stranded at Jakarta airport when the kingdom suspended foreign entry for the Umrah over coronavirus concerns

Indonesia is the world's biggest Muslim-majority country and it often sends around 1 million people on the Umrah pilgrimage every year in the kingdom, which hosts the two holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina.

Baca Juga: Saudi Arabia suspends entry for Umrah pilgrims, tourists amid coronavirus

The Saudi ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement that the suspensions were temporary but provided no timeframe for their expiry. It was unclear if the haj pilgrimage, which is scheduled to begin in late July, would be impacted.

"The immediacy of this will impact our citizens because at the time of the announcement, there are Indonesian citizens or maybe citizens of other countries who have flown there," Indonesia's foreign minister, Retno Marsudi, told reporters on Thursday.

The government was trying to convince the Saudi authorities to allow the Indonesians already there to complete their pilgrimage.

More than 1,100 pilgrims had left for Saudi Arabia on Thursday from Jakarta's airport, CNN Indonesia cited an official at Indonesia's religious ministry as saying, while around 1,500 had been asked to postpone their trips.

TV footage showed hundreds of pilgrims, some dressed in uniforms provided by travel agents, stranded at Jakarta's airport.

Joko Asmoro of the Association of Muslim Haj and Umrah Organizers, told Reuters that 150,000 to 200,000 pilgrims could be impacted by the suspension over the next month.