RIYADH (Dispatches) – A non-governmental organization named the International Commission to Monitor Saudi Administration of the Two Holy Mosques – otherwise known as Al Haramain Watch – has launched a campaign and petition to establish an international administration to manage the affairs of the two holy mosques of Mecca and Medina.
The campaign, which has already resulted in the support of around 100 Muslim scholars and human rights activists, aims to target Muslim-majority countries, as well as Muslim communities in Europe and the United States, in order to raise awareness of the policies recently enacted by Saudi Arabia with regards to the cities’ administration and pilgrimage.
According to Al Haramain Watch, the kingdom is violating both international law and the morals of its founders by failing to protect the unequivocal rights of Muslims’ access to the holy sites. In recent years, Saudi Arabia has enforced a number of limitations on certain groups and nations in making the Hajj pilgrimage and from visiting the country, with examples being the ongoing ban of Qatari nationals from making the pilgrimage and the ban of Iranian nationals until it was lifted in 2017.
The petition by the organization states: "Due to the permanent failure of Saudi Arabia to manage the two holy mosques and the feelings and permanent politicization and the absence of strategic development, we call on Islamic countries and governments to take the initiative and the media to form an interim framework that sets the first building blocks for a long-term plan for the process of managing the two holy sites.”
It urged the international Muslim community to establish "an Islamic administration that takes upon itself the administration of the Two Holy Places and the Holy Bekaa, whose membership consists of all Muslim countries.” The way in which this would work, it claims, would be for the states to "choose a high committee to be elected for a period of 4 years and subject to periodic review by a working association supervised by all member states.”
Al Haramain Watch was established in 2018 for the purpose of ensuring that Saudi Arabia maintains good management of the Islamic holy sites by preserving Islamic historic and preventing the politicization of the religious pilgrimages.