Two hundred Maldivians miss out on Hajj pilgrimage after Saudi slashes quota

Two-hundred Maldivians will miss out on the annual Hajj pilgrimage this year after the Saudi Arabian government reduced the quota for Maldives from 1,000 to 800.

Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed said at a press conference yesterday (June 17) that the Saudi government communicated the decision to the ministry this week.

According to local media reports, Shaheem explained that the Saudi government reduced the quota as a result of ongoing work to expand the area around the Kaaba in Mecca.

Consequently, Shaheem added, only 22,000 people would be able to perform the tawaf (circling the Kaaba) in one hour compared to 48,000 in the past.