Posted by: becketfund | December 14, 2007

Turkmenistan: Government Prevents Muslims from Making Pilgrimage

Forum 18 reports that despite promises from the government that any Muslim pilgrim wishing to do so would be allowed to undertake the haj, only 188 pilgrims have currently been granted permission to make the trip to Saudi Arabia. The entire group, which fills one aircraft, was selected “under complete government control” and include Turkmen officials and members of the country’s secret police. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, has said it would be prepared for up to 5,000 pilgrims from Turkmenistan, and neighboring Iran has offered to make buses available for the pilgrims, but the government of Turkmenistan seems intent on capping the number of pilgrims allowed to make the trip.

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