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Saudi Arabia deports female Nigerian haj pilgrims
150 women were denied entry to the country for traveling without a male family member or chaperone
- Reuters staff
- Saudi Arabia
- September 28, 2012
Mohammed Bello, chairman of Nigeria‚Äôs national haj, or Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, said 150 women on one flight had been stopped at the airport for ‚Äúlack of ‚Ä¶ lawful male accompanying pilgrim‚ÄĚ.
‚ÄúThis ugly development continued with subsequent flights that arrived at the kingdom,‚ÄĚ he said, adding that 1,000 were still being held at the airport in Jeddah.
Women in Saudi Arabia are regarded as minors and require the permission of their guardian ‚Äď father, brother, or husband ‚Äď to leave the country, receive some kinds of medical treatment or work. They are not allowed to drive and are usually expected to be accompanied by a male chaperone.
Nigeria has some 80 million Muslims. Many practice a relaxed version of Islam, but even in stricter northern states that impose sharia law, women can usually move around freely on their own.
A group of the women arrived in tears back at Nigeria‚Äôs airport in Kano, the largely Muslim north‚Äôs biggest city.
‚ÄúWe were not given water to drink; there was no food for us and we remained glued on our seats in our aircraft for all those hours,‚ÄĚ said Hajia Amina Musa, as she broke down and wept.
Full story: Saudi deports 150 female pilgrims, holds 1,000 more, Nigeria says