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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 15 November 2018

Saudi launches new Hajj website for Qataris despite efforts to block 

The last website launched during Ramadan was allegedly blocked by Qatar

Muslim pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca on September 2, 2017, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage. / AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB
Muslim pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca on September 2, 2017, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage. / AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB

Saudi Arabia has relaunched an online portal for Qataris to register for Hajj after Doha was believed to have blocked the older website set up by the Saudi Ministry for Hajj and Umrah.

The new website was launched on Friday to help Qataris perform the holy pilgrimage despite Saudi Arabia being embroiled in a diplomatic standoff with their neighbour.

Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, cut relations with Qatar last year and have since barred its citizens entering the country without special permission.

The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said in a statement that despite the Qatari government attempting to block it citizens from performing the religious duty it “welcomes the Qatari people to perform Umrah rituals following a completion of registering their legal information.”

The statement continued: “The ministry affirms that the citizens and residents in Qatar can come by air through King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah via all airlines companies except Qatar Airways.”

The Saudi authorities launched the new website as part of their pledge to make the Holy sites open to all Muslims who are willing and able.

“The new website launched for the brotherly Qatari citizens looking to perform Hajj after the Qatari leadership blocked the old one,” the official Twitter account of the Ministry of Media said.