Thai officials visit Haj pilgrims


JEDDAH — Thai Consul General Thanis Na Songkhla welcomed a delegation of Thai officials, who arrived in Jeddah on Aug. 15. The Thai Consul General along with officials from the Local Administration Department, representative from Thai Sheikhul Islam, Thai Haj delegations, as well as around 200 Thai pilgrims, welcomed Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Grisada Boonrach, as vice president of the Haj Affairs Promotion Committee of Thailand; Director-General of the Local Administration Department Arthit Boonyasophat, as secretary-general of the Haj Affairs Promotion Committee of Thailand; and Secretary-General of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC), Suphanat Siranthawineti, at the Royal Thai Consulate General premises here.

The Permanent Secretary led a delegation of Thai officials to visit Thai pilgrims in Saudi Arabia, affirming that the Thai government places great importance on the development of Thai Haj affairs.

During their visit, the Permanent Secretary said that the Prime Minister of Thailand, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, and the minister of interior wish to provide moral support to Thai pilgrims on their religious journey. The Thai prime minister affirmed that his administration supports all religions equally and stated that his government will continue to develop Thai Haj affairs. This year, the Ministry of Interior received cooperation from all parties, including the Provincial Islamic Committee, religious leaders in Thailand, as well as the Saudi government.

The secretary-general of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center explained that SBPAC sponsors 200 Thai Muslims every year paying all of their expenses to perform Haj. The 200 Muslims candidates in the southern border part area are selected by a committee that receives nominations from leaders at the sub-district and village level who have identified deserving candidates.

Also taken into consideration in the selection process is helping those who have been victims of security incidents or family members of those victims in such incidents in the area.

The delegation of Thai officials also attended a meeting with the staff of the Thai Haj Affairs Promotion Offices in Makkah and Madinah. They discussed various issues to further improve and develop the management of Thai Haj affairs. — SG