The National Hajj and Umrah (Health & Safety) awareness week was launched yesterday at the House of Lords by the Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK (ABH). The purpose of this launch was to raise awareness of the health & safety issues amongst the 25,000 prospective British pilgrims who will start travelling soon to join over 2 million other pilgrims in Makkah to perform Hajj. Members of the House of Lords, Members of Parliament, Government officials, Diplomats and community dignitaries were present to support this prestigious launch event.
The Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne MP, in his message at this occasion said, “I wanted to extend my support and endorse the work that the Association of British Hujjaj UK does in helping prepare pilgrims for Hajj. This event provides an excellent opportunity to inform British pilgrims of the health and safety issues and precautionary measures to take, ensuring that what will be the journey of a lifetime is a safe and fulfilling one.” He also outlined his plans to provide necessary comfort to British pilgrims, he stated, “the delegation will be on hand to provide consular assistance to any British pilgrim who requires help. I wish all those undertaking Hajj this year a peaceful, successful and rewarding pilgrimage”.
In his welcoming remarks, Lord Ahmed of Rotherham went on to highlight the importance of this event, saying, “by launching this awareness week will enhance Hajj related health & safety awareness amongst British pilgrims. It is important that pilgrims must be aware of all aspects of Hajj to enable them to perform Hajj in the safest and best possible manner”. He also praised the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for providing admirable facilitates for pilgrims.
Lord Phil Hunt (Deputy Leader House of Lords) praised the hard work and continuous efforts made by the Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) U.K. to help and protect the British Hajj pilgrims from hardship, difficulties and he assured his full support towards this noble and humanitarian cause.
Members of the House of Parliament, John Hemming, Anas Sarwar, Yasmin Qureshi, also assured their help and support towards the prospective Hajj pilgrims and stressed the importance of the awareness of health & safety and other issues related to performing hajj amongst pilgrims and urged the relevant government departments to provide help and assistance to them.
Senior doctors from Association British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) U.K., Dr. Syed Raza Hussain and Dr. Rashid Bhatti strongly urged the prospective pilgrims to safeguard against infectious diseases such as Meningitis, Hepatitis and Influenza etc. They warned that the main factor behind these risks is crowded conditions at ceremonies, accommodation sites and public transports.
“The tragic accidents that took place during Hajj pilgrimage in recent years and the outbreak of infectious diseases where a substantial number of British pilgrims lost their lives caused a great amount of grief and distress to the British Muslim community. The Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK (ABH) the National Hajj specific organisation is organising high profile publicity campaign through press and electronic media, and also organising seminars and educational training programs to raise awareness of pre-travel Health & Safety issues amongst prospective Hajj pilgrims. General Secretary of Assoc. of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) U.K.