Muslims from Russia will be able to make the pilgrimage to the holy places of Islam in Saudi Arabia this year, there should be no problems due to vaccination with Russian medicines, Deputy Head of the Russian Council of Muftis Rushan Abbyasov told RIA Novosti on Monday.
Earlier electronic newspaper "Al-Okaz" with reference to the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom reported that the authorities of Saudi Arabia have made a prerequisite for the annual hajj to have a vaccination against COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet approved the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.
"Yes, Saudi Arabia has such a requirement that the vaccine be approved by the WHO. But, of course, today we see that Russia is very actively distributing its vaccine, and already many countries, including Arab countries, are using it, showing great interest in it. So I think it is a technical question... There is a technical process of registration of our vaccine. The Hajj this year will be in July, and hopefully, our pilgrims won't have problems because they were vaccinated with Sputnik or one of our recognized vaccines," Abbyasov said.
He noted that the Saudi authorities in matters of the Hajj are never guided by any political considerations, but act objectively according to the situation. Thus, the interlocutor of the agency reminded that after Crimea's joining Russia in 2014, pilgrims from the peninsula were able to make the Hajj easily with Russian passports, and they had no problems.
"In any case, even if the WHO has not yet approved the Russian vaccine by the right time, we for our part will ask Saudi Arabia to allow our pilgrims who were vaccinated with Sputnik or another Russian vaccine to go," Abbyasov added.
The kingdom's authorities plan to vaccinate about 70% of the country's population by the end of 2021. Last year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, only Muslims living in Saudi Arabia were able to participate in the Hajj, an obligatory pilgrimage to the shrines of Islam in Mecca and Medina.
GSV "Russia - Islamic World"
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Based on materials from RIA Novosti