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British Muslims in uproar over hajj travel chaos

Many British Muslims fear they could lose thousands of pounds to a Saudi Arabian company that handles this year’s Hajj.

Farrukh and his five-member family paid more than PS36,000 through Motawif, a new portal that was launched three weeks ago.

Farrukh said, “When my money went, I thought my job had been done.”

It said, “Thank you very much. We’ve collected all of your money but your package was not successful.” It stopped there.

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Farrukh said that he still awaits updates ten days later. Farrukh paid for the flight on Tuesday.

“I called the airline and they said I wasn’t on any flight.” Because I am not yet at the visa stage, I didn’t expect to be on any flight.

The Motawif portal was launched by Saudi Arabia earlier this month. This allows travellers from select countries (including the UK) to book their hajj – the annual Islamic pilgrimage of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

The new portal eliminated UK-based tour agents who usually organized the trip for approximately 25,000 British Muslims every year.

Many travelers who booked for the hajj last year had to get refunds before they could book online.

To share their experiences, groups of travelers have set up Whatsapp Groups. Many claim that they paid with debit cards even though they were given 48 hours to make arrangements. However, despite the money being in their bank accounts, their bookings still show as “Failed”.

Motawif told Farrukh that they had been working hard with the airline to increase capacity. They are now in the process of organizing your flight.

Learn more about Hajj

“Kindly remember that we do our best to accommodate your flight request or offer an alternative.

“We recommend that you prepare for your hajj journey, and we will provide further information.”

Image Concerned about their Hajj trip Farrukh was told that his package had failed

Pilgrims who seek refunds may lose their booking fees and exchange rate. Some claim that flights have been changed without 24 hour notice, hotel options have been reduced and people turned away at the airport.

Farrukh stated that people are calling banks and reading the small print.

We’ve paid the money, gone through the process and done everything that was requested. I have even had my PCR done. In case someone pulls a fly out of a hat tomorrow I am ready to go.

Image To share their experiences, Hajj travelers have set up Whatsapp groups.

Sky News did not reach Saudi Arabia for comment, but a Motawif agent previously told us that the system was designed to combat fraud and make hajj easier.

Sky News was told by sources close to the Ministry of Hajj that a taskforce had been established within the department to address the “crisis.”

Motawif claims that it is the first portal to revolutionize the direct-to consumer booking process. It is believed to be a pilot program for this year’s pilgrimage, with a reduced quota (3500 British travelers).

Farrukh stated, “I don’t feel like I’ve been scammed.” “I feel like an animal experimenter.”

Image Momina decided to take the trip without high expectations. She would stay in the mosque if necessary

Momina Khatun booked successfully, but her package was not upgraded without notice.

Momina answered the question “Not entirely, not.” You think, “Okay, I haven’t received flight confirmations and hotel bookings.” If I had clear communication, I would confidently state yes.

Sky News: “My husband, I had a talk last evening and we decided that we would go with low expectations,” she said.

“If there is anything positive, it’s a bonus. We will just go to sleep in the mosque, or we plan for worst-case scenarios. It’s that simple.

Image The British Muslims who want to make the Hajj journey are in a lot of confusion.

According to the Council for British Hajjis, 90% of British pilgrims who are planning to perform Hajj this Year were affected by Motawif.

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