Manama: Saudi Arabia has denied reports that it had banned Qataris from performing Umrah as “untrue and lacked credibility.”
Umrah is performed by Muslims at the Grand Mosque in Makkah in western Saudi Arabia.
“There is no truth to the reports on social media platforms that Qataris have been turned away and denied the opportunity to perform Umrah,” the General Presidency of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque said in a statement carried by Saudi daily Okaz on Monday.
“We are committed to serving all people who come to the kingdom to perform Umrah and our Qatari brothers are in the hearts of all Saudis since the minute they arrive into Saudi Arabia until thy leave. Last week, for instance, 1,633 Qataris performed Umrah.”
The presidency said that several online sites have attacked Saudi Arabia, claiming that the kingdom was abusing Qataris in the wake of the diplomatic crisis that hit the region.
One week ago, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates severed their diplomatic relations with Qatar “to protect their national security and stability.”
The Gulf countries gave Qatari nationals 14 days to leave and banned Qataris from visiting them.
However, in its announcement on June 5, Saudi Arabia said that the ban did not cover Qataris coming to the kingdom to perform Umrah or pilgrimage.
Other countries, mainly Egypt, joined the move by the Gulf countries and cut off or lowered their diplomatic relations with Qatar.