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Senior citizens will get priority for Haj this year 10 March 2014 Haj contractors need to strictly abide by set rules and regulations, particularly quota and electronic advance reservation. Expansion project at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. — Supplied photos Aged pilgrims will be given priority for Haj this year, which will take place from October 3 to 6. Mohammed Obaid Al Mazrouie, Director-General of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowment Foundation (GAIAEF), said: “The number of pilgrims on previous Haj trips and the time of the nearest pilgrimage will be examined.” Addressing a workshop organised by the GAIAEF, Dr Mazrouie said they will be holding a number of meetings with Haj contractors and other participants concerned to come up with an “excellent” vision and mechanism. All Haj contractors need to strictly abide by set rules and regulations, particularly quota and electronic advance reservation. “However, priority is to be given to first time and old pilgrims,” Mazrouie, who is also the chairman of the UAE’s official Haj mission, said. In late August 2013, Saudi authorities asked countries across the world to cut the number of Haj pilgrims by 20 per cent due to ongoing developments at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Makkah. The number of UAE Haj pilgrims was reduced from 6,228 in 2012 to 4,982 last year. Mazrouie urged those who have already performed Haj to give a chance to those who have not. “This will help protect all pilgrims against possible risks of crowding.” Ahmed Shabib Al Dhahiri, Director-General of the Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation, said they will adopt certain criteria during the “electronic election” of pilgrims. “We want to give equal and fair chances to all eligible pilgrims.” The Haj contractors present called for better streamlining of quota distribution in the country. “All Haj applicants are proposed to register in the GAIAEF web portal and key in their details in a unified database for pilgrims using their Emirates Identity cards.” They have also requested clear benchmarks for sorting out and picking pilgrims. “However, priority is to be given to old people who have not performed Haj.” The Haj contractors have called for registering pilgrims in the electronic database by surname and not by the first name. “A unified management has been proposed by some Haj tour operators to provide better services.” email@example.com For more news from Khaleej Times, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/khaleejtimes , and on Twitter at @khaleejtimes Continue reading →
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