MUSLIMS in the country on Friday marked Eid al Hajj festival with a call from both political and religious leaders to the faithful and ‘wananchi’ at large to uphold peace and unity.
Though the importance of peace and unity in the country can never be over emphasised, the Chief Sheikh of Tanzania, Abubakar Bin Zubeir took the opportunity to reveal that he has formed a taskforce to investigate irregularities rocking pilgrimage services.
Eid al Hajj is a festival held after the Hajj, an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, where Muslims from all over the world flock the historic area. It is unfortunate that this year, there were a lot of irregularities that rocked the travel of some Tanzanian pilgrimages to Mecca.
Though a good number of pilgrims managed to make it to the Holy City, some saw their hopes to go to Mecca vanishing in thin air after some irregularities behind poor management of travel services.
The Chief Sheikh insisted that all local companies that coordinate pilgrims travel services to and from Mecca must refund the money they collected and failed to facilitate their going there.
He said that the decision to demand the money back was approved by the National Muslim Council of Tanzania and the funds will be used for the same purpose next year.
It is unfortunate that there are companies that fleeced hapless pilgrims of their hard earned cash and at the same time denying them the chance to join others in the Holy City of Mecca, something that is unacceptable.
Companies should not dice with people’s faith and money and if they can’t offer the services, they should just fold and leave it to those with the capacity. Stern measures should be taken against such companies and if possible the law should take its own course.
Deterrent steps have to be instituted to protect innocent faithful, entrust the companies with their monies but fail to get the services.
The National Muslim Council on the other hand should vet all these companies and weed out those without the capacity.
In fact they should blackmail all those who shortchange pilgrims in one way or the other. On the other hand, pilgrims should be vigilant and use only credible companies and should consult before committing their monies.