Somalia’s Hajj Committee Collaborates with Saudi Authorities in Makkah to Enhance Pilgrimage Services

Unveiled in October 2023, a new Hajj committee made up of nine esteemed members is now at the helm of the Hajj Tasks Competition. This group is tasked with optimizing services for Somali pilgrims by ensuring high standards are met.

Tasks for the committee are various, ranging from assessing the compliance of organizations with health and safety protocols to facilitating visas and passports. They also focus on approving lodging and transport arrangements and ensuring Islamic principles are upheld. These measures aim to guarantee a seamless and well-organized pilgrimage, a top concern for the Somali government.

Even with these initiatives, the cost of the Hajj journey for Somalis is steep. The Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs has pegged the 2024 pilgrimage fee at $4,434—a slight decrease from the previous $4,484, yet considerably pricier compared to neighboring nations such as Djibouti, Kenya, and Ethiopia, where the expenses can drop to $1,600. This high cost has drawn criticism from Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre, who chastised some agencies for ramping up prices and increasing tension regarding expenses.

In past times, the Somali government was embroiled in controversy. In 2023, Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a (ASWJ) boycotted cooperation with the Ministry, citing bias in the vendor selection process for the Hajj. The Ministry responded with warnings of punitive measures against firms overcharging pilgrims.

On May 16, 2024, the initial contingent of Somali pilgrims landed in Madinah.

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