Source: BBC News
The Hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, that all adult Muslims are expected to complete at least once in their lives.
Ahmadi Muslims are not recognised by other Muslims because of their beliefs and Saudi Arabia bans them from entry.
They risk arrest and deportation if they travel to perform the Hajj.
We met one man who made the journey in secret.
Categories: Ahmadis, Hajj, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, The Muslim Times
Every time I went for Hajj and Umrah the bureaucratic ways for entering differed:
1970: I had a friend in the Saudi Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, but he was not the visa officer (he was press attache). He told me that the visa officer asked for a certificate that I was a Muslim. I told him ‘you must be joking, you know me’. He was very embarrassed and spoke to the Ambassador again. The Ambassador said that if we write in the passport ‘Muslim’ I could get the Hajj visa. I wrote it and my boss, Honorary Counselor of Switzerland, signed. (Later the Swiss Embassy crossed it out and said it was against Swiss rules). When I reached Jeddah one Immigration Officer pointed out at the Swiss Cross on the passport. Consequently the Chief Immigration Officer sent me to Jeddah Court. I was interviewed and the Chief Justice of the Hijaz gave me permission to enter Makkah and Madinah.
I thought this will be ‘it’ for all future visits. Wrong:
1975. The Saudi Embassy did not care what its own Chief Justice had stated. They wanted a letter from my Embassy. The Swiss Embassy said ‘we are an Embassy not a Church or Religious Institution. I suggested that I declare that I am a Muslim and you attest my signature and put plenty of nice stamps all over the paper. The Saudi Embassy was happy.
1978 (or so). I presented the same paper again. The Saudis hesitated. finally the Officer asked whether I knew an Imam in town (Lagos). I replied, yes of course. He said I should get the paper counter-signed by the Imam and he issued the visa.
2006 I had to provide a document from the Shariah Court of Amman, both that I was a Muslim and that these ladies are my wives.
And I did not have any further problems. No arrests … (so far)…