The Jakarta Post
The Association of Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI) has suggested the government cooperate with countries that do not use their full haj quota. ICMI chairman Jimly Asshiddiqie said strengthening coordination to use vacant haj seats belonging to other countries was a positive thing and would not violate the law.
He was speaking in response to a recent illegal dispatch of would-be haj pilgrims.
“We can coordinate [haj quotas] for Southeast Asia, for instance. So, Indonesia may get an additional quota from [unused haj seats of] other countries,” said Jimly in a statement on Monday.
He highlighted the Religious Affairs Ministry’s stance on the haj quota, in which he said the ministry should be more open to availing of opportunities. Only with that, he said, could people meet their religious obligation to go on the haj.
As reported previously, immigration authorities foiled the illegal dispatch of 40 would-be haj pilgrims at Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi, on Aug.10.
Religious Affairs Ministry fund management director Ramadhan Harisman recently said it took up to 30 years for an Indonesian to go on the haj after registering for it.
"Such a long waiting time is because Indonesia has a haj quota of only 211,000 seats every year,” he said, adding that this year, the ministry was sending 221,000 pilgrims as Saudi Arabian authorities had allocated 10,000 additional seats for Indonesians. (yon/ebf)