Yemen ministry opens registration for hajj
By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden
Yemenis can register for the upcoming hajj season starting Wednesday (February 6th), according to the Hajj and Umrah Department of Yemen's Ministry of Religious Endowment and Guidance.
The registration period will be open for 45 days, and the fees for pilgrims will be a fixed amount of 8,100 Saudi riyals ($2,160), the ministry announced.
Yemenis wishing to make the annual pilgrimage to Mecca can register with one of the 150 approved agencies offering transportation, services and accommodation.
"The ministry announced the start of registration for pilgrims early, as compared to previous years, to extend the registration period for economic reasons," Assistant Deputy Minister of Religious Endowment and Guidance Tariq al-Qurashi told Al-Mashareq.
"The ministry has made the registration period 45 days instead of 15 days to avoid more pressures on the national currency, which is already under pressure," he added.
It will require 250 to 300 million Saudi riyals ($66.6 to 80 million) to register the pilgrims, he explained.
Meanwhile, he warned hajj agencies not to manipulate the approved fees, which include all services, including accommodation in Mecca and Medina and food.
He also warned citizens not to deal with unapproved agencies or brokers, not to pay any additional fees, and to immediately inform the ministry about any violations so the necessary legal actions can be taken.
As for the overall number of pilgrims making the journey from Yemen this year, al-Qurashi said the Saudi Ministry of Hajj has a fixed standard, which it applies to all Muslim countries based on the size of their population.
According to this formula, each one million citizens are represented by 1,000 pilgrims, he said, noting that "Yemen's population is about 25 million, and therefore, they will be represented by 25,000 pilgrims".