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Indonesia Bars Citizens from Attending This Year’s Hajj

Citing the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting international travel restrictions, Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, has decided to block its citizens from attending this year’s hajj pilgrimage – in the event that Saudi Arabia goes ahead with it. Health Minister Fachrul Razi announced the new policy on Tuesday in Jakarta. The country uses a quota system that can mean a waiting time of up to 20 years for potential pilgrims; according to the website of its Religious Affairs Ministry, this year’s quota was set at 221,000, with over 90% of the spaces already taken. Indonesia’s official coronavirus-related death toll as of Tuesday was 1,641, with 26,940 confirmed infections. Riyadh has yet to officially announce whether it will hold the hajj, which would take place in mid-summer. It has indefinitely shut down the lesser umrah pilgrimage, which takes place all year round. Home to Mecca and Medina, Islam’s top two holy sites, Saudi Arabia’s official coronavirus figures as of Tuesday were 525 deaths and 87,142 confirmed cases.