Families of 76 expectant pilgrims who made payments to the al-Fatuh Hajj Group protested outside the company’s offices today after they were unable to depart for Mecca.
According to local media, the group was provided a quota of 118 by the government, but charged 76 additional people.
Online news outlet CNM reported that the group agreed to reimburse the disgruntled clients within 10 days. About 25 families reportedly gathered outside the group’s offices this afternoon.
Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed declared this week that Hajj groups that accepted payments from people in excess of their quotas would be disqualified next year.
Of the 800 pilgrim quota afforded to the Maldives by Saudi Arabia, 400 were reserved by the government’s Hajj Corporation while the rest were divided amongst Hajj groups chosen after a bidding process.
The government-owned corporation charged MVR69,965 (US$4,537) per person. Performing the Hajj pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime is one of the five pillars of Islam.