17 October 2017
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  • » 08/22/2009, 00.00


    Ramadan begins for many Arab countries and Iran

    It is the month of fasting and charity. Muslims must abstain from food, drink and sexual relations from sunrise to sunset. In Saudi Arabia there is a swine flu emergency, slowing down the arrival of pilgrims on the Omra. But there are hundreds of thousands of beggars, many of them children, organized by racketeers.

    Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Today the majority of Arab countries and Iran began the month of Ramadan, dedicated to fasting and charity. The religious leaders in Saudi Arabia and Iran set the date according to astronomical observations. The sacred month, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, starts today in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Palestinian Territories and other Asian countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. In Libya, however, the starting date was yesterday, as well as for the Shia in Lebanon.

    During this month Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, having sexual relations from sunrise to sunset.

    King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia, guardian of the most important holy places of Islam, sent out a message last night asking all Muslims during the month to absorb themselves in the qualities of mercy, tolerance, generosity, and follow the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad. "We have to commit ourselves - he said - to the spirit of brotherhood and to improve feelings of compassion, generosity and mercy, seeking our reward from God."

    During the month of Ramadan, hundreds of thousands of faithful Muslims travel to Mecca on the "little pilgrimage" or Omra (different to the Hajj, the great pilgrimage, which this year takes place in November). This year there are fears of a drop in attendance due to the swine flu epidemic. Several countries, including Iran, Egypt and France have advised Muslims not to travel to Mecca.

    Compensating for the decline in pilgrims, this year the number of beggars swarming Mecca has risen disproportionately, all seeking to take advantage of the call for generosity during the month of Ramadan. Throughout the holy month many old people enter the country to beg. But for many, the charity system has become subjected to racketeering. Captain Eqab Al-Rubaie, director of operations in the passport department in Mecca, reports that so far they have arrested 677 beggars of different nationalities. But the largest arrest occurred in the province of Asir, south of Arabia, where the number detained is more than 23 thousand, mostly Yemenis.

    One university study showed that at least 100 thousand child beggars arrive in Saudi Arabia each year. Most of them came from Yemen, and then from several Asian and African countries.

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    See also

    06/08/2009 IRAN – SAUDI ARABIA
    Tehran bans pilgrimage to Makkah because of the swine flu
    Iran has 145 known cases of the flu, almost all involving travellers from Makkah. In Saudi Arabia anti-flu measures are stepped up. Pregnant women and people with heart, kidney, liver, lung, diabetes, obesity and hypertension problems are banned from going on pilgrimage.

    18/03/2017 09:39:00 SAUDI ARABIA - IRAN
    Deal with Riyadh: green light for Iranian pilgrimages to Mecca

    Last year’s crisis, which blocked the travel of Iranian faithful to the Muslim holy site, seems to have been overcome. At least 80 thousand citizens of the Islamic Republic expected to participate in most important pilgrimage. Iranian Foreign Minister: "Constructive" relations with countries, including Saudi Arabia.

    30/05/2016 12:13:00 SAUDI ARABIA - IRAN
    Last efforts at negotiation between Riyadh and Tehran fails. No Iranian Hajj pilgrims

    For the first time in 30 years no citizen of the Islamic Republic will participate in the most important Muslim pilgrimage. Iran says insurmountable "obstacles" have been placed in the way, Riyadh wants to "block the path that leads to Allah." Saudis says the conditions posed by Tehran are "unacceptable."


    26/05/2016 10:04:00 SAUDI ARABIA - IRAN
    Riyadh: "Positive" talks with Tehran for Iranian Hajj pilgrims

    Another round of talks between the Iranian delegation and a Saudi representative held yesterday. Discussions focus on visa process for Iranian pilgrims. Deal expected within the next few days. Diplomatic tension between the two regional powers remains high.

    12/05/2016 12:03:00 IRAN -SAUDI ARABIA
    Riyadh and Tehran in standoff . This year no Iranian Hajj pilgrims

    Iranian Minister of Culture blames Saudis "cold and inappropriate attitude". Claims Riyadh "sabotage" to prevent participation in most important pilgrimage. Now it's "too late" for a fallback solution. Failure to reach agreement over issuing of visas.


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