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Home > Articles > GOVERNMENT BENEFITS MORE FROM HAJJ PILGRIMS

GOVERNMENT BENEFITS MORE FROM HAJJ PILGRIMS

Posted on: 27 March 2013


GOVERNMENT BENEFITS MORE FROM HAJJ PILGRIMS

The recent debate in the media and social network sites about Ghana government supposed sponsorship/subsidy of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca has got me thinking who actually benefit from the journey to the holy city (Mecca). It must be noted that embarking on the journey to Mecca is a religious obligation and among the five pillars of the Islamic faith and its incumbent upon all able-bodied Muslims who can afford it to at least make that spiritual journey once in a life time.

Muslims all over the world and Ghana in particular started embarking on the journey since time immemorial and that will continue to be so until the end of time, with or without the support of governments (Muslims from Ghana would still embark on the journey if even Ghana is barred from sending delegates to Mecca-May Allah forbid).

Government’s involvement in the whole process has grossly been misconstrued by a section of the populace though one might forgive them and rather blame it on the government’s communication machineries who are trying to score cheap political points by giving free tickets to their political apparatchiks and some hand full opinion leaders within the faith. It would be very unfair to the 5000 plus pilgrims who paid about 3,100 US dollars of their hard earn cash so as to embark on the journey to be referred as being sponsored by government.

As a matter of fact the government is making more money out of these pilgrims. The airport tax alone imposed on economy class travel outside West Africa as of last year (2012) is in the region of 50 US dollars. Unless the government would want us to believe it waived those taxes and other airport levies, then the government certainly can’t tell us it is subsidizing the trip the holy city.

We definitely need a full disclosure of what goes into the 3100 US dollars being charged by the Hajj Committee because we are aware of the sub standard accommodation being offered to our pilgrims when they finally arrive in Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage.The impression one gets from friends and families who embark on the same journey from other parts of the world on the condition of Ghanaian pilgrims is nothing to write home about. Pilgrims get stranded even here in Ghana whiles others have not been able to perform their hajj accordingly albeit being in Saudi Arabia physically.

The government, the hajj committee and their agents’ needs to understand; this is a spiritual activity (people go to worship and not vacation or sightseeing) and not a money making venture. Using the spiritual journey for political expediency and scoring cheap points would not be tolerated.

We can’t ask government to wash its hands completely off the organization of Hajj because we understand it’s collaboration between governments, but government must stick to its role of being a facilitator and nothing else and enjoy the taxes and revenue it’s making out the pilgrims rather than communicators and apologists making the masses believe it is responsible for airlifting over 5000 pilgrims to Mecca for FREE.

Fauzan Shamsudeen

 

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