Saudi Arabia warned pilgrims on Tuesday not to mix politics with religion while performing Hajj.
During a meeting of the Saudi Cabinet, chaired by King Salman, pilgrims were urged to be considerate of the privacy and spirituality of the holy places and not to engage in political acts.
The warning follows a veiled threat by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei of disruption and possible political demonstrations by Iranian pilgrims at this year’s Hajj, and criticism of Saudi organization of the pilgrimage.
“Among major mistakes is that they say, ‘Do not politicize Hajj’,” Khamenei said. “Creating unity is a political matter. Supporting and defending the oppressed in the world of Islam, like the Palestinian and Yemeni nations, is a political matter, based on Islamic teachings and obligations.
“Hajj is a political act and this political act is … a religious obligation,” the ayatollah said.
The Iranian leader also suggested that Saudi security measures at the annual pilgrimage were too tough. “The Saudi government bears major responsibilities,” he said. “Among their responsibilities is protecting the safety and security of pilgrims, but they should not spread a security atmosphere.
“While the pilgrims are in Makkah and Madinah, they should treat the pilgrims