Wednesday, September 14, 2022 – A man has been arrested in Saudi Arabia after claiming that he had travelled to the Holy City of Mecca to pay tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II.
The man, from Yemen, had posted a video of himself on social media inside the courtyard of Mecca’s Grand Mosque, the holiest site in Islam, dedicating his Umrah pilgrimage to the late monarch.
He was also seen holding up a banner, which read in both English and Arabic: ‘Umrah for the soul of Queen Elizabeth II, may Allah grant her peace in heaven and accept her among the righteous.’
The man was later arrested by Saudi Police for ‘violating the regulations and instructions’ of the holy site.
Security forces then referred him to the public prosecutor to face charges.
In a statement, reported by Vice, the interior ministry of Saudi Arabia said: ‘The special forces of the security of the Grand Mosque arrested a resident of Yemeni nationality who appeared in a video clip carrying a banner inside the Grand Mosque, violating the regulations and guidelines for Umrah.’
The Grand Mosque is off-limits to non-Muslims.
Saudi Arabia also bans signs and political slogans from the sacred courtyard for fear of offending Islamic sensibilities.
According to reports, visitors are banned from dedicating their pilgrimages to deceased non-Muslims, therefore, the man attributing his pilgrimage to the late Queen, who was the head of the Church of England, appears to have broken the rules.