2014 Hajj : President Koroma’s Envoy Meets Saudi Hajj Minister
Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has hailed the services and facilities provided to Sierra Leone pilgrims last year by the Government of King Abdallah Bin Abdul Aziz Al- Saud despite the suspension of 2014 intending pilgrims from Ebola-affected countries. (Photo: Dr. Bandar Muhammad Hajjar, Saudi Hajj Minister receives Sierra Leone’s Ambassador Alhaji Mohamed Sillah Kargbo)
Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia were barred from sending both pilgrims and workers to Saudi Arabia after the Saudi Ministry of Health advised the competent Hajj authorities to suspend issuing Hajj and Umrah visas for pilgrims from the three West African nations as a “precautionary measure.”
In a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Pilgrimage (Hajj) Minister, Dr. Bandar Muhammad Hajjar last Thursday, 4th September, 2014, at the Minister’s office in Jeddah, Ambassador Alhaji Mohamed Sillah Kargbo expressed profound gratitude and appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdallah Bin Abdul Aziz Al- Saud and his Government for the provision of large-scale services and facilities provided to pilgrims over the years, particularly those from Sierra Leone.
The facilities, he said, enabled his people to perform their Hajj rituals easily and comfortably, describing them as “remarkable and wonderful.” He also lauded the efforts being made by the Saudi government for the expansion project of the Grand Mosque and a number of developmental projects of the Two Holy Mosques (Makkah and Madinah) and other holy sites. He described the projects as “gigantic achievements and new land marks.”
He noted that the King’s achievements show his deep-rooted love for the religion, and humanity, pointing out that the King has achieved accomplishments like these in a very short period. During their meeting, the Ambassador told the Minister that he hoped the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will help Sierra Leone in combating and eradicating the Ebola virus, adding that: “I also hope that our people will be able to perform Hajj in 2015”. We need the Kingdom’s support in fighting this deadly disease that is ruthlessly killing West Africans in large numbers, the envoy said.
Responding, the Minister said the fight against Ebola should be the concern of the International Community. He told the Ambassador that his ministry was very much concerned about the Ebola outbreak and its consequences. “Our thoughts are with the people of Sierra Leone and other affected countries,” he said.
On the kind words expressed by the Ambassador about the Kingdom, the Minister said, he views them as an Islamic duty and obligation on the part of the Government of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz to ensure that every mechanism is put in place and every facility is provided for the optimum comfort of the pilgrims.
He intimated that after the completion of the Grand Mosque expansion programme, pilgrims will definitely bask in total comfort while performing the rituals of the fifth pillar of Islam. He stated that, as it is evident, never before has the Grand Mosque gone through such colossal expansion measures, and the main purpose of all this process is to fulfill the tasks imposed on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by virtue of its being the cradle of Islam and the ‘Kiblah’ of all Muslims around the world.
Dr. Bandar said it is through serving Islam and Muslims that the Kingdom derives its valour and strength. It is an honour for Saudi Arabia to host millions of Muslims on its soil every year for the sole purpose of fulfilling the rituals of Hajj once in a lifetime, the Minister concluded.
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