Elderly #pilgrims will still be prioritized. Currently, the number of elderly people in the queue is around 600 thousand.
The additional Hajj quota of 20 thousand granted by Saudi Arabia to Indonesia for 2024 will help shorten the long Hajj queues in the homeland, Minister of Religious Affairs, Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, has said.
“This (additional quota) is both a blessing and a challenge,” he remarked in a statement issued in Jakarta on Saturday.
According to the minister, the additional quota is indeed good news for Indonesia, but it also poses a challenge for the country since it will push the government to move faster to prepare for the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage.
With the additional quota, Indonesia will allow as many as 241 thousand people to perform next year’s pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
“We have to prepare for it even better. Preparing the departure of 241 thousand people will not be an easy task,” the minister said.
Qoumas further said that he held a virtual meeting with officials from the Religious Affairs Ministry’s Directorate General of Hajj and Umrah in response to the good news.
He informed that he instructed the officials to prepare measures to distribute the quota fairly.
“Elderly pilgrims will still be prioritized. Currently, the number of elderly people in the queue is around 600 thousand. I want them to be prioritized,” he said.
Indonesia managed to secure the additional Hajj quota following a bilateral meeting earlier between President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud.
The leaders held their meeting on the sidelines of the 1st Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Gulf Cooperation Council (ASEAN-GCC) in Riyadh on Friday (October 20, 2023).
During the meeting, President Widodo informed the Saudi PM that the long queue for Hajj in Indonesia has led to some prospective pilgrims facing a wait of up to 47 years for making the pilgrimage.
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