Thursday, November 9, 2017
Some 17,000 Turks performed umrah with fake cards in 2017, according to statistics from Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet).
While Diyanet said some 325,000 people performed umrah in 2017, Saudi Arabia’s Hajj Ministry announced the number of Turks as 342,000.
After comparing the numbers, authorities concluded that 17,000 people conducted umrah with fake or illegal “Diyanet Umrah Cards,” daily Habertürk reported on Nov. 8.
According to Association of Hajj and Umrah Travel Agencies head Mehmet Uzuner, Diyanet lost at least 3 million Turkish Liras because of the 17,000 unregistered visits and there is tax evasion worth 170,000 liras.
Uzuner also said Turks with fake Diyanet cards can suffer from the lack of insurance in cases of accidents, sicknesses or deaths.
The umrah is a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca that can be undertaken at any time of the year, in contrast to the Hajj. It is sometimes called the “minor pilgrimage” or “lesser pilgrimage,” whereas the Hajj is the “major” pilgrimage and is compulsory for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. The umrah is not compulsory but highly recommended in Islam.