World Bulletin / News Desk
Nigeria has suspended flights to Saudi Arabia for the annual haj pilgrimage, following a diplomatic spat over the detention of hundreds of female pilgrims for arriving unaccompanied by men.
Saudi authorities have deported more than 600 female Nigerian pilgrims and detained hundreds for trying to visit the holy city of Mecca without male relatives.
Aminu Tambuwal, Nigeria's parliament speaker and the second most powerful Muslim in the government, was due to visit Saudi Arabia on Friday to try to resolve the spat.
"The airlift operations have been temporary stopped ... It does not make sense to airlift people to be detained on landing. We will resume when all outstanding issues are resolved," Uba Mana, spokesman of National Hajj Commission, said by telephone.
Women in Saudi Arabia require the permission of their guardian - father, brother, or husband - to leave the country.
"The Nigerian pilgrims came with their visas stating that they have to have a male guardian accompanying them, either a brother, a husband, or another relative," Saudi Haj Ministry spokesman Hatim Kadi said.
"Some came with their guardians and were allowed to enter. Those who came without their guardians were not. They violated the regulations which were clearly printed on their passports."
Nigeria has 80 Million Muslims.
"I use this platform to plead with our compatriots, to leaders in Nigeria to be mindful of statements that we make on this issue so that we don't aggravate the situation," Tambuwal said late on Thursday.
All Muslims who are able are required to perform the haj at least once, as one of the five pillars of Islam.
The numbers taking part have risen sharply over the last 80 years from around 20,000 in 1932 to nearly three million in 2011.
Head of International Union of Muslim Scholars warns incoming US president of consequences of ‘anti-Muslim’ discourse
According to statistics, the number of Muslims in Latin America is over four million, with 700,000 in Argentina and more than 1,500,000 million in Brazil
Knowing the correct time of the day for daily affairs is important and it is the inventions from Muslim scientists who have impacted current clock technologies.
In the hands of the Western countries maps sometimes showed the land to be exploited, and many times used as a tool to create equilibrium in their own favour
'Although i have not yet had the opportunity to perform my daily prayer inside of it, a masterpiece of the result of our hands in Africa, became an example which gave me both a feeling of pain and pride on the inside. I had witnessed once again that a seed planted gave branches five thousand kilometers away.'
Liverpool and Everton fans team up with England's oldest mosque to help city food banks
We met a father who almost danced to the death of his daughter. Because his daughter died as a Muslim.
In his book ' Fasting during long days', Musa Carullah discusses about the topic of fasting in some geographies which are confusing to some people. By Yusuf Tuncbilek.
Muslims civil rights leader Nihad Awad urges Trump to ensure rights of minorities regardless of ethnic, religious background
The story of how the Qur'an was kept and taught.
Learn about 10 amazing things you may not have known about the Ka’bah.
The Haji Ali Dargah trust has barred women from the landmark mausoleum off the coast of Mumbai since 2011, insisting the presence of women near the tomb of a revered saint is a "grievous sin" in Islam.
Suhaib Webb is an American Muslim imam who is currently the imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center
Largest Muslim body warns against radicalism, addresses tensions mounting before 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election
Imam of capital's Grand Mosque says 'tiny' community gets little financial support
Smithsonian exhibition includes 47 handwritten Qurans from Turkey