Makkah vendors banned from selling Holy Mosque souvenirs

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MAKKAH: The Ministry of Commerce and Investment continues its campaign in Makkah against selling souvenirs of the Kaaba, Maqam Ibrahim and Al-Haram Al-Makki because of what it called “preserving its sanctity” after shops were notified through inspection tours.

According to a source at the branch of the Ministry of Commerce and Investment in Makkah, souvenirs and antiques of Al-Haram were confiscated and the violating shops were notified of the consequences of the act to preserve the sanctity of these places.

Many of these central-based commercial establishments have cooperated with international factories to sell souvenirs of the Kaaba and Maqam Ibrahim because it is profitable.

Economists believe that an antiques and gifts sector in Makkah and Madinah would create employment opportunities for both men and women and that there are large-scale manufacturing opportunities.

Ali Al-Twaim, a professor of Islamic jurisprudence, told Arab News that selling souvenirs containing images of the Kaaba and the holy mosque is an insult to its sanctity and is a wrongful practice.

He stressed that “these souvenirs must take into account the holiness and honor granted by God to these places, in addition to the fact that they could be put in inappropriate places.”

“Many of these souvenirs do not reflect the extent of attachment and affection. There are some Umrah and Hajj pilgrims, and visitors who are passionately fond of whatever is for sale in Makkah, not to mention if it was like the Kaaba, Maqam Ibrahim or Al-Haram Al-Makki,” Al-Twaim said.

Economically, Abdel Moneim Bukhari, the owner of the Al-Meawiah Establishment for Antiques and Gifts, believes that these replicas are a souvenir that many visitors keep and remain a link that connects them to the place that they revere.
Bukhari said that “Umrah and Hajj pilgrims, like all tourists around the world, like to take any souvenirs or gifts with them that remind them of Makkah.”

He said that these goods have positive economic effects on the GDP. “Many of these industrial products are imported from several countries such as China, India, Taiwan and Pakistan, which are far from being specialized factories in Makkah. They should be of high quality and standards of respect,” Bukhari said.

He said that anything from Makkah should be made in Makkah and support the economics of Hajj and Umrah. “One of the pillars of Vision 2030 includes increasing the numbers of Umrah and Hajj pilgrims to 30 million by 2030.”

He added that many economic sectors will adapt to the challenges of this stage, which means that the requirements of Hajj and Umrah and their needs are essential in terms of housing, hotels, living, transport, industries, antiques and gifts.

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