Posted on September 6, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Islam
Kurdish pilgrims at Makkah’s Jumez mosque were welcomed under the banner of ‘Kurdistan Country-Iraq’. Photo: Rudaw
MECCA, Saudi Arabia,— In a religious event held in Saudi Arabia’s Mecca city, Iraqi Kurdish pilgrims were welcomed under the name of the country of Kurdistan.
“At a religious event which was organized for foreign pilgrims in Makkah’s Jumez mosque, Kurdish pilgrims were welcomed under the banner of Kurdistan Country-Iraq,” Karwan Stuni, head of the Hajj and Umrah Announcement in Kurdistan, told Rudaw by phone from Saudi Arabia.
“The thing now is that you don’t have to tell people out there that you are a Kurd, because the Saudi people, when they see Kurdish clothes and flag, they immediately know that you are a Kurd and they welcome us,” Stuni added.
“They look at the Kurds with respect. Sometimes they describe Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Region, as a great and effective president.”
Saudi Arabia has printed thousands of copies of the Quran and Islamic leaflets in Kurdish, one of the 40 different languages they publish in, a big help to Kurdish students living in the kingdom. There is also a strong visible Kurdish presence.
“You can see thousands of Kurdish flags, especially on the pilgrims, on the buses, flying next to the flags of other countries in hotels, and even patterned on women scarves. That is why you do not need to identify yourself as Kurds in Saudi Arabia,” said Stuni.
Mariwan Naqshbandi, spokesperson for the ministry of religious affairs has called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to open a diplomatic mission in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia opened a consulate in Erbil in February, a sign of strengthening political and economic ties between Riyadh and Erbil.
On August 13, the first group of Kurdish pilgrims left for the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. A total of 1277 pilgrims from Erbil, 631 from Duhok, and 1488 from Sulaimani and Garmiyan, will attend the Hajj this year.