Topic initiated on Friday, June 19, 2009 - 5:36 PM
|Swine flu no obstacle to Haj, says Al-Obaikan|
important: this article is being circulated to inform our muslim brothers and sisters as to the current affairs affecting the muslims; circulation of this article should therefore not be misconstrued as anything but the sharing of such information.
JEDDAH/RIYADH Sheikh Abdul-Mohsen Al-Obaikan, senior Saudi cleric and a member of the Shoura (Consultative) Council has voiced his opposition Thursday to any travel bans for the annual Muslim Haj pilgrimage because of the scare over the swine flu pandemic.
Sheikh Al-Obaikan was quoted by Okaz daily as saying that Islam does not condone travel bans. It is not proper to ban people from the Haj, said Al-Obaikan. He also said travel to and from countries with reported cases of swine flu should not be impeded.
While no official in the Middle East has proposed banning Muslims from traveling for the Haj, Al-Obaikans remarks appear to be a reaction to a recent stark warning from Egypt.
Egypts Health Minister Hatem Al-Gabali warned his countrymen last month they could face quarantine upon their return from the Haj.
Egyptian concern over the Haj has drawn mixed reaction from top clerics. Saudi Arabias Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Aal Al-Sheikh has said the concerns over exposure to swine flu at the Haj were exaggerated.
Al-Obaikans comments came as health authorities said seven more cases of the flu have come to light raising the number of cases in the Kingdom to 29.
Three cases were registered in Riyadh two at the Military Hospital and one in a Filipina nurse at the National Guard Hospital having come from Bahrain and 3 cases in Madina, with one further case in Jeddah in a resident child from Brunei, the Ministry of Health said.
The ministry stressed that preventive and therapeutic procedures are being applied to the patients and persons in contact with them as recommended by the National Plan for Prevention of Swine Flu and the World Health Organization.
The Saudi government is already working with WHO experts and other international organizations to finalize a plan for dealing with the threat, Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Marghlani said.