Saudi Arabia reopens Umrah for Indonesian pilgrims

The good news about the resumption of Umrah for Indonesian pilgrims by the Saudi Arabian government was conveyed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi in a virtual press statement from Jakarta, Saturday (9/10).

Retno explained that the decision from the Saudi government came after a long discussion at the level of the foreign minister, the health minister and the religion minister. In addition, Saudi Arabia also sees the rate of transmission of the COVID-19 virus in Indonesia decreasing.

According to him, the notification was delivered through a diplomatic note at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Jakarta.

“The (Saudi embassy in Jakarta) has received information from competent parties in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding the arrangement for the resumption of Umrah for Indonesian Umrah pilgrims,” ​​said Retno.

Umrah pilgrims outside the Grand Mosque ahead of Ramadan in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, April 13, 2021.

Umrah pilgrims outside the Grand Mosque ahead of Ramadan in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, April 13, 2021.

Retno added that a special committee in Saudi Arabia was working to overcome any obstacles that prevented pilgrims from Indonesia from performing Umrah.

In the diplomatic note, continued Retno, it was also mentioned that the two parties were in the final stages of discussing the exchange of technical links with Indonesia, which explained information on visitors related to vaccines and would facilitate the process of entering congregations from Indonesia.

“The diplomatic note also mentions considering setting a five-day quarantine period for Umrah pilgrims who do not meet the required health standards,” said Retno.

Retno said the issuance of the Umrah permit for pilgrims from Indonesia would be followed up by the government through a more detailed discussion on the technical implementation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to coordinate with the Ministry of Religion and the Ministry of Health as well as with relevant authorities in Saudi Arabia on the implementation of this new policy.

Prospective Umrah pilgrims at Soekarno-Hatta airport after the cancellation of flights to Mecca following the temporary suspension of the Umrah pilgrimage by the Saudi Arabian government, Thursday, February 27, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)

Prospective Umrah pilgrims at Soekarno-Hatta airport after the cancellation of flights to Makkah following the temporary suspension of the Umrah pilgrimage by the Saudi Arabian government, Thursday, February 27, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)

The Indonesian government through the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia Prince Faisal bin Farhan has submitted a request that the ban on Umrah for Indonesian pilgrims be lifted. The request was made on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last September.

Although Umrah can be restarted, there is still no certainty when this can be done.

Residents met by Mouab are still happy with the reopening of Umrah for Indonesian pilgrims.

Lutfiah, 57 years old, expressed her joy at hearing the news. According to him, his long-delayed wish for umrah will soon come true. Ahmad also expressed the same thing. [fw/em]

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