Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK
Every year over 25,000 British pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj and over 100,000 travel to perform Umrah (Lesser Hajj). There is considerable accumulated evidence that British Hajj/Umrah Pilgrims experience significant difficulties and problems lack of awareness of pre-travel Health & Safety precautions and understanding of the needs of good preparation of the journey to perform Hajj & Umrah in safe and best possible manner.
Many tragic incidents and outbreak of infectious diseases have taken place during Hajj Pilgrimage in recent years where a substantial number of Hajj pilgrims lost their lives including over 18 British Hajj pilgrims due to stampede and road accident and over 20 tragic deaths due to meningitis outbreak amongst returnee British Hajj pilgrims. This caused a great amount of grief and distress to the community in UK. They were all shocked and extremely saddened by these heartbreaking human disasters.
Feeling the pain of these tragedies and realising the importance of proper preparation for Hajj, there was a desperate need to promote Health & Safety awareness to prevent any future loss of human lives amongst British Hajj pilgrims. The Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK (ABH) was formed in 1998 as a National registered charity whose Executive Committee consists of senior doctors and professionals from all walks of life to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of British overseas travellers including Hajj/Umrah Pilgrims.
Some of the objectives of this organisation are:
- To explore the effective and practical ways to minimise hardship and problems witnessed by the effected Hujjaj.
- To influence and work with the concerned authorities to coordinate their efforts for the welfare of the British Pilgrims.
- To organise high profile publicity campaigns involving regional and national media to promote awareness.
- To organise seminars, conferences and other educational training
- To produce and distribute leaflets, booklets, posters and audio-visual materials, consisting of appropriate information on Health & Safety related issues.
- Ever since its foundation in 1998, ABH has made many achievements including setting up a British Hajj delegation by the Foreign Office to provide healthcare, welfare and support services, such as bereavement, lost pilgrims, loss of luggage, passport, flight tickets and money etc. for British Hujjaj in Makkah in Saudi Arabia.
- The Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK has played an important role to setup a vital link between the relevant Government Departments and communities and has been working closely with them to coordinate their efforts for the welfare of British International travellers including Hajj/Umrah Pilgrims.
- ABH has made a significant achievement to promote awareness about the threat of Meningitis by working hard to create awareness of taking preventative measures amongst the targeted community groups in view of over 20 deaths amongst British Hajj returnees in UK in the recent past.
- ABH has created significant awareness of other communicable diseases such as Meningitis, Hepatitis, Malaria, Typhoid, and TB in the community which must have made substantial savings in the NHS resources by preventing need for treatment via GP / hospitalisation of these returnees.
- ABH has provided effective counselling and advisory services on Health & Safety matters, to the targeted community groups for over a decade.
- Our phone line is accessible to the public on a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year basis for information and appropriate helpful advice.
- ABH campaigns have received significant national and international coverage by the print and electronic media for the services it provides. It is heartening to note that our tireless humanitarian services and efforts are being appreciated and confirmed as extremely beneficial to the society. It must be emphasised that all these services are provided on a voluntary basis.
- The epitome of our campaign is the launch of the National Health & Safety Awareness Week from the House of Lords on an annual basis, in which we conduct seminars, TV & radio programmes – especially multi lingual in addition to English, small group workshops delivered by senior doctors/experts, and distribution of multi-lingual informative literature through various outlets to the community. This prestigious event is attended by Government Ministers, Members of House of Lords, Members of Parliament, ambassadors and diplomats from Muslim embassies in London, and community dignitaries from the Muslim community in the UK.
ABH thankfully wishes to place on record messages received from the Prime Minister, various Government Ministers, honourable Members of House of Lords, Members of Parliament, and dignitaries in appreciation of its services rendered towards the welfare and well being of British Hajj/Umrah Pilgrims.