Indonesia Cancels Haj Pilgrimage due to Coronavirus Outbreak

The deadly virus outbreak has created a major stir around the world in recent times infecting more than 6.2 million people globally

This year's haj pilgrimage was canceled by Indonesia for the people living the world's biggest Muslim-majority country due to the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak, the religious affair minister stated on Tuesday.

Every year hundreds of thousands of people of Indonesia got to Saudi Arabia for the haj, where two holiest cities of Islam, the Mecca and the Medina are located. For many Indonesians, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event, as the average wait time is 20 years because of a quota system, as per the nation's cabinet secretariat.

Indonesia Cancels Haj Pilgrimage This Year

Hajj Wikimedia Commons

Saudi authorities have already said the haj and umrah pilgrimages — which attract millions of travelers from around the world — will remain suspended until further notice.Fachrul Razi, Indonesia's religious affairs minister, said the decision to cancel hajj this year was made due to concerns over the coronavirus and ongoing travel restrictions.

The quota for Indonesian pilgrims this year was 221,000, with more than 90 percent already registered to go, according to the religious affairs ministry website. Dewi, an employee of a telecommunications company in Jakarta and registered to perform the pilgrimage this year, told Reuters that while she had waited six years, she had made peace with the news.

"If that is the decision, I will accept it," said Dewi, who did not want to give her full name. "After all I believe that everything happens with God's permission."

(With agency inputs)

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