Association of British Hujjaj (ABH), a national Hajj-specific charity, has welcomed the acknowledgement by the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) that the Hajj frauds are a national issue, which is affecting a large number of British Hajj/Umrah travellers.
Every year over a 125,000 British Hajj/Umrah pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia to perform pilgrimage. Regrettably, a large number of these travellers, including the elderly, sick and disabled are being exploited by the rogue and unscrupulous tour and travel operators. It is causing tremendous distress and mental anguish to the vulnerable travellers. It is highly deplorable that unscrupulous tour and travel operators have no regard and respect for UK travel laws. Violation of the British legislation has become a common practice amongst these rogue and unscrupulous Hajj/Umrah tour and travel operators.
ABH has been tirelessly campaigning since over a decade to highlight the plight of British Hajj/Umrah travellers. Their plight was brought into the attention of all the relevant law enforcement authorities and this issue was also raised at the House of Parliament. However, the community is yet to see a decisive action by the authorities to eliminate malpractice and fraudulent activities.
At a recent meeting at House of Lords, hosted by ABH Patron Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, to discuss the plight of the vulnerable British Hajj/Umrah travellers, Lord Toby Harris, Chairman of National Trading Standard Board, extended his support towards addressing this issue and he commented that “there are an awful lot of nasty people who are preying on vulnerable individuals, who want to fulfil their religious duties, and particularly the Hajj fraud is offensive”.
Stephen Head, Commander of National Co-ordinator Economic Crime, City of London Police, also extended police force’s full support towards combating Hajj scams and said, “I hope that we will be judged by our actions, not by our words”, adding that “if this [Hajj scams] is happening to one person then it is one person too many, and we can do something about it”.
ABH strongly urges the police authorities that they must take this task seriously. They should take swift and severe action against the rogue and unscrupulous tour and travel operators to win back the community’s confidence. The rogue and unscrupulous tour and travel operators must not be allowed to take advantage of these vulnerable travellers, including the elderly, sick and disabled.