(Picture of last year’s pilgrims)
The leadership of Muslim groups in Nigeria are contemplating a boycott of the annual Muslim pilgrimage, the Hajj following the detention of 700 Nigerian female Muslim Pilgrims to this year’s hajj by the Saudi Arabian Authorities. Even more,the curious development has elicited strong protests from unusual quarters as emirs and leaders from the northern part of the country are furious,Newsdiaryonline.com has learnt.The anger has spread further today as news filtered in that ore women may have been detained.
A senior emir who spoke on condition of anonymity described this “unacceptable and absolutely humiliating. “Treating these innocent Muslim women as common criminals under degrading conditions at detention centres is an act of hostility least expected of a host country like Saudi Arabia.
The emir said “We have no knowledge of any law by the Saudi Authorities, which say that female pilgrims must be accompanied by their husband or male relatives. Our women have never been subjected to this legal requirement before. In fact, if such law ever existed, the Saudi Arabian authorities have never drawn the attention of Nigerian pilgrims’ authorities to this regulation.
” Introducing such tough regulation when the female pilgrims are already in Saudi land is unjust and unfriendly. It is also disturbing that this requirement is only being imposed on Nigerians at the 11th hour. Is this discriminatory treatment fair or just?
“Is humiliating pilgrims of any country who have come to perform one of the five pillars of Islam a reflection of friendship and Muslim universal brotherhood, which the holy pilgrimage entails?
The emir, who is in a deep consultation with fellow emirs and the Sultan of Sokoto said “We cannot, therefore, rationalize this unfriendly gesture in any way. We call on the Saudi Authorities to rescind the idea of giving retroactive effect to a legal regulation and punish innocent Nigerian pilgrims for what they are totally ignorant about.”
An informed source however noted that much as it was wrong for the Saudi authorities to detain the women unfairly, it was also improper for the pilgrims boards of Kano and Jigawa states to have just air freighted the women alone into Saudi Arabia without male officials accompanying them. But officials of the pilgrims boards reportedly alleged that they came under pressure from the women to commence operations even though visas for the male officials were not ready.