JEDDAH: Saudi authorities have reportedly prevented a Qatari national from entering the Grand Mosque in Mecca, marking a sharp escalation in the Gulf diplomatic crisis.
The Al Sharq newspaper reported on Saturday that Qatar’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) received a complaint from a Qatari citizen that Qatari pilgrims were barred from entering the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca.
Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, the NHRC head, called the reported incident a flagrant violation of the right to practise religious rites as permitted by human rights conventions.
In a statement, his office denounced the alleged Saudi barring of Qatari citizens from entering the Grand Mosque, saying it considered the step a violation of the right to perform religious rituals guaranteed by human rights conventions.
It should be noted that Saudi authorities do not normally question people entering the Grand Mosque on their ethnicity or sectarian affiliation.
The claims come less than a day after the UAE and Bahrain criminalised “sympathy” for Qatar on social media.