Posted By

Tags

Hajj pilgrims warned against fraud

Performing Hajj is a sacred duty of all Muslims but they should be aware of operators who deliver far less than what they promise, according to some members of the community in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Aucklanders Subhan Mohammed, Harun Ali, Nadira Ali and a few others said that prospective Hajj pilgrims must read carefully the provisions of the contract given by tour organisers. They should also ensure that the organisers have appropriate expertise, experience and most important of all, proper approvals, arrangements and agreements with the authorities in Saudi Arabia and other countries which they may visit as a part of their Hajj tour.

Proper contracts

“It is important that the operators of Hajj tours to the Holy Cities of Makkah and Medina have the approval/licence issued by the Saudi Government. If the pilgrims are not provided with the appropriate facilities as promised in the contract, they would not be able to perform Hajj properly,” they said.

Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) President Dr Anwar Ghani told Indian Newslink that his organisation does not provide Hajj services.

“Hajj services are provided by private organisations in New Zealand,” he said.

A notification issued by ‘Action Fraud,’ United Kingdom’s National Reporting Centre for Fraud and Internet Crime said that the dreams of many British Muslims are destroyed as they fall victim to Hajj Fraud.

“Hajj fraudsters will target licensed travel companies and advertise fraudulent deals to Saudi Arabia in their name. In some cases, Hajj tours are being sold at half price but shortly before departure, the tour operator closes, leaving people with no tour and no way of getting their money back,” the notification said.

It said that about 25,000 British Muslims travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj every year and a majority of them (80%) are more than 65 years old and that on average, victims lose between £200 and £20,000.

“The Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK estimates that only 10% of Hajj fraud is reported,” the notification said.

Useful tips

‘Action Fraud’ has given a number of tips that Hajj pilgrims should follow, the first of which is to ensure that their travel agent or tour operator has a valid Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL)

“If the travel agency closes down while you are in Saudi Arabia, you are guaranteed a flight home without having to pay extra money. If the agency closes down before you are due to travel, ATOL protection allows you to claim your money back,” the notification said and added that pilgrims must also ensure that the travel agent or tour operator is accredited by the Embassy or Consulate of Saudi Arabia.

Paper trail

“Don’t book without researching your travel agency/tour operator – if the offer seems too good to be true, it usually is. Don’t rely on a recommendation from a friend or family – a fraud may be ongoing for a while before the fraudsters disappear with the assets. When paying, consider carefully your method of payment. Establishing an auditable paper trail and keeping records of financial transactions will make it more difficult for you to be defrauded,” the ‘Action Fraud’ notice said.

Asif Sadiq, Chairman of Muslim Consultative Committee at the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau said, “The Community needs to ensure that all its members are aware of Hajj fraud and stress how important it is for them to support the police in any way that will help them bring these criminals to justice.”

Share this story

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement