Working to Protect Travelers on Hajj

October 5, 2014

As thousands of American Muslims embark on the Hajj pilgrimage every year, this year presented a new set of issues for travelers that voiced their fears of attacks that other pilgrims have faced in the past. In recent weeks, MPAC has been working alongside the organization, Muslim Advocates, to expand the State Department’s efforts to ensure the safety of American Muslim pilgrims.

After collectively addressing these pressing issues, the State Department sent a letter  stating that they had met with officials from the Saudi government that assured U.S. officials they will extend and expand complete protection and security for American Muslims participating in Hajj. The Division Chief from the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management, Viki Lopatkiewicz stated, “The ministry official assured the consular officers that the Saudi government is aware of potential problems and is prepared to take appropriate actions to secure the safety of U.S. pilgrims, including the separation of Shia and Sunni camps.” The State Department also reflected these actions by dedicating more on-call staff to respond to any other emergencies that may arise in this year’s Hajj.

These initiatives and protocols have already begun to be emplaced and will expand to all major holy sites at Hajj. American Muslims can now be confident that their government will intervene for their protection regardless of international authority, especially during such sensitive times in the world.

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