The Russian Muftis Council (RMC) expects Russian pilgrims to be allowed to the Umrah (small hajj - pilgrimage to the shrines of Islam, which can be made at any time of year - TASS) in Saudi Arabia by the beginning of next year, Deputy Chairman of the RMC Rushan Abbyasov told TASS on Sunday.
"We can count on ... for the new year, maybe [on the admission of pilgrims], because our operators are asking - they call, ask if they will be the Umrah. <...> Our country doesn't yet have permission to organize groups for pilgrimages," he said.
On Sunday, the SPA news agency reported that Saudi Arabia opened its borders to foreign pilgrims wishing to perform the Umrah. In a trial mode, with strict adherence to sanitary requirements, a small hajj to Islamic shrines was launched on October 4.
According to Abbyasov, the number of countries from which Saudi Arabia began to accept pilgrimage groups is still limited. "The number of countries is limited now. <...> They have now divided into three zones: green - these are those who can come now, yellow - after some period they will be able to come next and red - this is already the third stage. <...> Russia is still in the red zone," - the deputy chairman of the RMC added.
To date, Russian pilgrims, he said, are on the "waiting list". "We have everything ready, the operators have already improved all the programs, have already passed all the necessary approvals, but so far we do not have permission to organize groups for the pilgrimage", - he concluded.
Mufti Albir Krganov, the chairman of the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia, also told TASS that there was no exact information yet about when a pilgrimage would be allowed for Russian citizens.
GSV "Russia - Islamic World"
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