Birmingham: The Association of British Hujjaj (ABH) United Kingdom, a national Hajj-specific organisation working for the welfare and wellbeing of pilgrims, has strongly condemned the widespread corruption and malpractice amongst rogue and unscrupulous Hajj service providers.
"These service providers are indulging in all sorts of malpractices and exploitation, which is causing immense hardship, mental anguish, trauma and difficulty to vulnerable Hajj/Umrah pilgrims from around the world including the sick, elderly, and disabled", KBH said in a statement.
"The malpractice and corruption have now become a global phenomenon and it has plagued the Hajj/Umrah travel industry to the extent that it is becoming a way of life. Values and norms have changed. The rogue and unscrupulous service providers have no hesitation in preying on vulnerable pilgrims", it said.
"Hajj/Umrah pilgrims from around the world are angry and frustrated about the obscene prices they are being charged for substandard services", it said.
"It is a complete rip-off compared to similar travel packages to other destinations around the world, especially taking into consideration that many pilgrims are likely to have spent their lifesavings in order to fulfil their religious obligation", the KBH said.
"The persisting price hike of Hajj and Umrah services is making it nearly impossible for the vast majority of Muslims around the world to perform the pilgrimage", it said.
Meanwhile, the British parliamentarian and the patron of Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK, Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, called upon the authorities in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and around the world urging them to adopt a zero tolerance policy and carry out anti-corruption crackdowns against such "criminals to eliminate malpractices, fraudulent activities and corruption".
"These corrupt service providers should not be allowed to get away. They should be held accountable in a court of law, punished severely and have their licenses revoked", he said.
Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK also urged Islamic scholars and organizations from around the world to look into this issue with seriousness.
"Such corruption and malpractice has no place in a civilised world. Hajj/Umrah pilgrims should be able to perform their religious obligations in peace and harmony. The denial of basic human rights and dignity of the pilgrims is highly deplorable and must not be allowed to continue", the association said.
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