Mash’ar Tours’ pilgrims stranded in Mecca brought back to Maldives

Pilgrims are seen off at the airport by their family. (Photo/Qibla Hajj and Umrah)

Pilgrims escorted to Umrah by Mash’ar Tours during last Ramadan who were left stranded in Mecca have been brought back to the Maldives; their travels, paid for by the company.

Approximately 50 pilgrims escorted by the company were left stranded in Mecca after the cheque issued by Mash’ar tours for their airfare had bounced. This was promoted by the company’s failure to make the payment for Ace Travels within the stipulated.

All pilgrims who were stranded were brought back to the Maldives by Saturday.

As per the company, the pilgrims were brought back over the course of Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Islamic Ministry has filed a police complaint over the case.

The Ministry, in a statement last week, stressed that companies were not permitted to escort pilgrims to Umrah without a permit under regulation on escort pilgrims to Umrah.

“Al-Mash’ar Tours’ Managing Director Ali Farish is also the Managing Director of Al-Mashar Hajj and Umrah Company of which we have revoked the permit,” the Ministry noted.

The Ministry advised against making payments to the company or Farish to go to Umrah and sharing information related to one’s Umrah with them.

They also noted that making payments to a party that does not have the permit to escort pilgrims to Umrah constitutes to a violation of the regulation.

“We bring it to the attention of the public that individuals facing consequences arising from violating the regulation will have to bear responsibility for them,” the statement read.

Many people have become victims of fraudulent practices of Hajj and Umrah groups in violation of the stipulated regulations.

list of groups permitted to escort pilgrims to Umrah is available on Islamic Ministry’s website. 50 groups have the permit to accompany pilgrims, of which permits of four expired last month.

The increased amount of fraud in relation of Hajj and Umrah has prompted the government to only allow Maldives Hajj Corporation to accompany pilgrims to Hajj.