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Qatari Pilgrims Harassed in Masjid-al-Haram, Makkah

According to an Al Sharq Newspaper report, Qatari Nationals have been banned from entering the Holy Mosque in Makkah.

Reportedly, Saudi Authorities have prevented a Qatari National from entering the Grand Mosque in Makkah, causing an escalation in the already existing Gulf Diplomatic Crisis.

A report in the Al Sharq Newspaper released on Saturday stated that Qatar’s National Commission for Human Rights (NHRC) received a complaint from a Qatari National that they were barred from entering the sacred Masjid-al-Haram in Makkah.

The NHRC (National Human Rights Commission) Head, Ali Bin Smaikh-al-Marri described the reported incident as a blatant violation of one’s human rights as permitted by Human Rights Conventions.

His office also condemned the discrimination against Qatari Citizens in a statement saying that preventing someone from performing their religious duties is equivalent to violating their basic right as a human.

Previously, no such case has ever come forward. Saudi Authorities do not normally question people entering Masjid-al-Haram on the basis of their ethnicity or nationality.

The incident occurred hours after UAE and Bahrain regarded ”sympathy for Qatar” as a ‘crime’ on social media.

The UAE also issued that the offenders would serve a jail term of up to 15 years, and will be required to pay a fine of $136,000. Whereas, Bahrain declared it punishable by imprisonment for upto five years.

The current situation had erupted slogans against and in support of Qatar on Twitter in Arabic, which is commonly used as a medium of expression in the Arab World, especially in Saudi Arabia. The dispute between Qatar and the Arab countries escalated after a cyberattack on Qatar’s State-Run News Agency.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut their diplomatic ties and transport links with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting “extremism”.

Qatar has strongly denied the charges.

Qatari Government gave a statement saying that it has been leading the region in attacking what is referred to as the ‘roots of terrorism’, including offering various job opportunities to young people, educating hundreds and thousand of Syrian refugees and funding several community programmes to prevent terrorist attacks by armed groups.

The government said, “Our position on countering terrorism is stronger than many of the signatories of the joint statement – a fact that has been conveniently ignored by the authors.”