The Religious Affairs Ministry today confirmed what hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the country have feared: just like last year, there is to be no Hajj pilgrimage for Indonesians this year.
Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas made the official announcement this afternoon, quashing any lingering faint hopes for the departure of Indonesians to Saudi Arabia with just under two months to the start of Hajj.
Indonesia had little remaining time to decide whether or not it was going to send pilgrims to Hajj this year, with the main barrier being Saudi’s refusal to grant entry to pilgrims inoculated from COVID-19 using vaccines that aren’t approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The vast majority of inoculated Indonesians received a vaccine by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac, which had only been given WHO approval this week. Had the Indonesian government decided to send its pilgrims to Hajj, there would have been practically no time to make the appropriate preparations as the sacred event begins on July 17.
Last year, more than 200,000 Indonesian pilgrims put their plans on hold due to the global health crisis. The number would have been much smaller this year as Saudi is expected to downscale the number of pilgrims as a health precaution.
Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, is traditionally afforded the largest Hajj quota each year with over 200 thousand pilgrims, followed by Pakistan and India at around 170 thousand each.
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