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Hajj pilgrims

India ends decades-old subsidy for Hajj pilgrims

NEW DELHI: India's Hindu nationalist government is ending a decades-long policy of offering discounted airfares to Muslims embarking on the Hajj pilgrimage, it announced Tuesday. The right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party has accused its opponents in the Congress party -- who introduced the Hajj assistance scheme in the 1950s -- of trying to woo Muslim voters through handouts. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government wants to assist India´s roughly 175 million Muslims without resorting to political…

Saudi king orders reopening of Qatar border to Haj pilgrims

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia´s King Salman has ordered the reopening of the border with Qatar to facilitate the annual hajj pilgrimage, state media said Thursday, in the first signs of a thaw after the region´s worst diplomatic crisis in years. The Salwa border crossing had been shut after regional kingpin Saudi Arabia as well as Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing the emirate of fostering extremist groups. The announcement to reopen the border for Qatari…