JAKARTA: Indonesia's largest Muslim group attacked the government's management of local citizens' haj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, saying the process was rife with corruption and should be cleaned up, media reports said yesterday.
The criticism came just days after the government also came under fire for not doing enough to prevent the deaths of 54 Indonesians, among 251 people killed during a haj stampede on Feb 1.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs has a monopoly on the lucrative business of providing transportation, food and hotels for the more than 200,000 Indonesians who make the annual trip to Mecca.
Hasyim Muzadi, chairman of the country's largest Muslim organisation Nahdlatul Ulama, said government officials and their foreign partners have enriched themselves by marking up the costs of the pilgrimage.
“Some say that rampant corruption and mark-ups are developed by an expansive network involving officials at home and certain parties overseas,'' Muzadi was quoted as saying by The Jakarta Post. – AP
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