Arabia will host 200 Hajj pilgrims of families of victims of the terrorist
attack in Christchurch, New Zealand on the orders of King Salman, a Saudi Press
Agency report said. The attack in March by Brenton Tarrant on two mosques in
the city killed 50 people and wounded dozens more.
The directive from King Salman was announced on Tuesday by Sheikh Abdullatif bin Abulaziz Al-Asheikh, the Minister of Islamic Affairs. Al-Asheikh said the hosting of the families during the Hajj season was part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to “confront and defeat terrorism” in all forms.
Al-Asheikh added that his ministry was working with the Saudi embassy in New Zealand to ensure the invitees have everything they need to perform Hajj during their visit.
Prince Abdul Aziz
bin Saud bin Naif, minister of interior and head of the Supreme Hajj Committee,
has adopted the general emergency plan for this year’s Hajj season, to be
implemented in participation with 33 government agencies.
The director general of Civil Defense, Lt. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Amr, stressed that this pilgrimage season’s plan was expanded upon in light of the results of last year’s pilgrimage season and the recommendations issued by the committee.
He said that the plans are continuously developed as directed by King Salman and the crown prince so as to ensure the security and safety of pilgrims.
He pointed out that the plan included measures to deal with emergency situations, highlighting the tasks and responsibilities of the departments and agencies involved.
Meanwhile, one million SIM cards and free internet will be offered as gifts to pilgrims performing Hajj this year upon arriving at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia. The initiative is part of a program aimed at serving pilgrims who are keen to communicate with their nearest and dearest back home.
A field team will be working 24 hours during the Hajj season to offer this service to the arriving pilgrims so that they can share their experience with their families. The project comes as part of efforts by the Kingdom to serve pilgrims under directions by King Salman and the Crown Prince to allow pilgrims to perform their rituals with ease.