Is our media walking on the 'Makkah Road'?


Al-Madina newspaper

IN August last year, specifically on the 20th of the month, I wrote an article about the importance of processing the passports and the custom clearance for the pilgrims right at their embarkation points back home by specially trained Saudi officers. I said this would save the pilgrims from the long waits at crowded airports in Jeddah and Madinah.

Last May I had the honor of sitting with Mohammed Abdul Rahman Al-Bijawi, the director of the branch of the Ministry of Haj and Umrah in Madinah. He brought the good news to me that this proposal would be fully executed this year after an experimental run last year.

Today I am raising my head high and feeling very proud of my esteemed home country, the Kingdom of humanity.

Last week pilgrims from Indonesia and Malaysia arrived in the Kingdom via the "Makkah Road" initiative.

Under this initiative, Haj visa checks, passport verifications, customs clearance, health tests and luggage tags are made at the pilgrims' respective embarkation points in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Upon arrival in the Kingdom, the pilgrims from these two countries do not have to go through the lengthy immigration procedures.

They will move directly from the aircraft to buses waiting outside the arrival lounges and go to their places of accommodation in Makkah or Madinah.

The officials in charge of the ground services will deliver the luggage of these pilgrims to them in Makkah or Madinah. So they do not have to worry about them.

The innovative "Makkah Road" initiative was executed by a creative Saudi team from the concerned departments. It is within the National Transformation Plan of 2020, which was within the Kingdom's Vision 2030.

The Kingdom has made it a priority and a scared duty to serve Islam and Muslims everywhere. The Kingdom is not only looking for the comfort of the pilgrims but for their welfare in all the locations during their Haj or Umrah trips.

The Saudi people are strongly supporting their government in its efforts to bring ease, comfort and greater facilities to the guests of God. They have formed volunteering teams to serve in all aspects of the pilgrimage operation. They are there to take good care of the pilgrims and provide them with every possible help to enable them perform their Haj rites in ease, peace and comfort.

The government and people of Saudi Arabia are extremely proud of their duties to serve the pilgrims.

There are some countries that do not appreciate what the Kingdom and its people have been doing in the service of pilgrims. They are adamant on politicizing the pilgrimage. They have been circulating rumors and fake news about the Kingdom. So it is important that what the Kingdom is doing should reach the people of these countries so that they will not have any misconceptions about what the Kingdom has been doing.

The Kingdom's efforts to serve the pilgrims should reach Muslims everywhere in the world. This is the duty of the Ministry of Media, which should talk to the people abroad in their own languages and through their satellite channels and newspapers. These people should be well enlightened about Saudi Arabia's dedicated efforts to serve Islam and Muslims.

The ministry should transmit audio-visual reports about its services to the pilgrims to all Muslim countries. Such a move will silence the voices, which are skeptical about the Kingdom's efforts.