Austrian Muslims Ready for
By Ahmed Al-Matboli, IOL Correspondent
January 1 (IslamOnline.net) - Despite high costs, an increasing number of Austrian Muslims are readying themselves for hajj
this year, thanks to facilities provided by mosques and tour operators.
an increase of 520 from last year, some 2,000 Austrian Muslims will start flying out of the country into Saudi Arabia on January
costs range this year between 1600 to 2000 euros per person.
can pay in installments to free them from the financial burden of the holy journey,” Ahmad Ahmad, a hajj organizer at
Ibn Taymiya mosque, told IslamOnline.net.
said the mosque pays some of the expenses for those who cannot afford the entire package.
Ahmad, however, complained about some difficulties in getting visas as the Saudi Embassy demands a valid one-year residence
permit in Austria.
embassy also no longer accepts individuals and would-be pilgrims have to enroll with mosques or tour operators to take on
the holy journey.
hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, and thus
an essential part of Muslims’ faith and practice on the condition of physical and financial ability.
consists of several ceremonies meant to symbolize
the essential concepts of the Islamic faith and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.
Hajj LecturesFareed Al-Khoutani, the director
of the Islamic Center in Vienna, said the center also arranges video and audio lectures for would-be pilgrims.
center further provides charge-free ihram clothes [the state of consecration] for them,” he told IOL.
said the center organizes Qur’an memorization and Islamic contests every year, noting that some of the prizes are hajj
said the center’s 100-member hajj group will leave on January 12, putting the average cost at 1600 euros each.
is no Saudi ceiling on the number of pilgrims from Europe given that the total number of pilgrims from Europe, the Americas
and Australia doesn’t exceed 50,000,” Khoutani added.
Arabia allows one percent of the population of each Muslim country to perform hajj every year, in accordance with the resolution
of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
in 1979, the Islamic Religious Authority functions as the religious and spiritual representative of Muslims in Austria.
which was officially acknowledged in Austria in 1908, is considered the second religion in the country after Catholic Christianity.
estimated at nearly half a million, make up some 6 per cent of the country’s eight-million population.
are 76 mosques and prayer rooms across the country, including 53 in Vienna alone.
law issued in 1867, which guaranteed respect for all religions, gave Muslims the right to establish mosques and practice their
religion in Austria.
community is now seeking to reconstruct the first Muslim cemetery in Austria on an area of 34,000 square meters.