No Umrah for Bangladeshi Muslims

It has been two months since last Bangladeshi was issued Umrah visa. 31 Bangladeshi agencies have been blacklisted by the Ministry of Hajj Saudi Arabia for human trafficking in the name of Umrah visa.

Working on the allegations of human trafficking and other irregularities, the Saudi Government decided to take strict action against some Bengali agencies. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has blacklisted 31 Bengali Hajj agencies. This has created quite concern among those who want to perform hajj in the future. It will create problems for the issuance of hajj visas during the next Hajj season as well since large number of Bengali agencies has been blacklisted. According to the sources, about 1000 Bengalis who went to Saudi Arabia on Umrah Visa have not returned back but started living there illegally.  It is uncertain whether the issuing of visas shall be resumed or not. This has forced Saudi government to stop issuing Umrah visas since 22nd of March this year as quite a large of number of Bengalis did not come back after going to perform Umrah.  

 The 31 Hajj agencies that have been involved in human trafficking to Saudi Arabia with Umrah visas are from Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet areas of Bangladesh. According to a source from Saudi Hajj Ministry, a significant number of people that had gone to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah through these agencies in the last four months did not come back. It is unclear that whether they are working in Saudi Arabia or they have been smuggled somewhere else. The Saudi government took notice of the matter and immediately took steps to prevent such cases.

 Extreme poverty might be the reason behind staying back of those people, since Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world. They may involve in disappearances intentionally or unintentionally but this kind of attitude will hurdles for their fellow countrymen who are honest in their aims.