750 Ugandan Muslims set for pilgrimage to Mecca

SHAFAQNA - The chairman of the Uganda Bureau of Hajj Affairs (UBHA) has warned pilgrims to be mindful of what contains in their luggage to avoid security embarrassments at the airport.

Yahaya Ahmed Lukwago made the remarks at Wandegeya Mosque during the sendoff of the first group of the 750 Ugandans who are set to perform the hajj to Mecca this year.

Hajj, the fifth and last pillar of Islam, is the holy visit to Mecca by Muslims.    

The first group fly out on Monday followed by the second on Tuesday. Other groups will leave the country on Wednesday and Thursday.

Sheikh Ahmada Lubobbo said that following security threats from terrorists, the convoys accompanying pilgrims will this time not go beyond Kitooro trading center in Entebbe.

“Only one vehicle transporting the pilgrim will be given a sticker and will be allowed to enter the departure area at the airport.”

Meanwhile Prince Kassim Nakibinge, a respected leader of the Muslim faith in Uganda, commended the UBHA for working together amid divisionism facing the faith.

“I am happy that you are under one leadership, this will in future ease our unity” he said.

UBHA is an organization which brings together all the 35 fully-registered Muslim hajj travel agencies in Uganda.

Nakibinge also warned the pilgrims against engaging in unlawful acts while in Mecca, saying they should know that they are in a foreign land governed by strict sharia laws.

“Be respectful to your patrons and be aware of the CCTV cameras everywhere – including within the washrooms.”

Nakibinge also implored the Muslims to go for medical checkups and in case of any requirement to move with their medication, they should seek doctor’s recommendation letters.

He requested the pilgrims to endeavor to pray for the country to get rid of acts terrorism and peaceful elections come next year.

Sheikh Muhamood Kibaate, the acting supreme mufti, tasked the patrons of the pilgrims to ensure that the pilgrims benefits from their hajj by guiding them and implored the pilgrims to in turn respect their patrons.

This year, females make up 400 of the 750 Ugandan pilgrims set for the journey to Mecca.

Following the increasing rate of the dollar, the pilgrims have paid between $4000 (14m) and $4,500 (Sh15.7m) for their travel to and accommodation costs in Mecca and Medina, respectively.

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