Cape Town – The South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) has washed its hands of the plight of pilgrims who are being scammed by ruthless Umrah operators, saying it has no jurisdiction over them.
This comes after two groups of pilgrims wanting to travel to Saudi Arabia were allegedly conned out of over R1.3 million by Imam Fasiegh Adams.
Adams now faces court after 30 travellers including a couple from Johannesburg – who were scammed in 2018 – filed criminal charges against him.
Eighteen people from Strand, and 40 from Mitchells Plain were set to leave for Umrah on Christmas Day, but were informed their trip was cancelled the day before.
The Daily Voice contacted SAHUC to find out whether Adams is accredited with the regulatory body.
SAHUC admitted they are aware of Adams and his previous shenanigans, however, they do not accredit operators.
“SAHUC does not accredit Umrah companies nor its principals,” it said in a statement to Daily Voice on Monday.
“SAHUC only accredits operators for Hajj – The (Saudi) Ministry of Hajj and Umrah accredits operators in the umrah space.
“We have heard of this (Adams); what is concerning is that people would still fall prey to him,” it said.
When the Daily Voice pointed out in a second query that Muslims look to SAHUC for guidance with regards to Hajj and Umrah regulations – as its name suggests – it changed its tune.
“SAHUC did not have capacity in the past, that is now changed and we will be visiting the regulation of Umrah.
“SAHUC is the recognised body of the South Africa and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia governments – as such we will be undertaking the task,” it said.
Meanwhile Maulana Ihsaan Abrahams from the Jamiatul Ulama Western Cape says: “Allah says in the Qur’an: the Hajj and Umrah belongs to Allah. These crooks are causing difficulty to the guests of Allah, they have declared war with Allah.
“We would like to send a stern warning to all fake Hajj and Umrah operators, we will not rest until justice has been restored”.