Tunisia suspends Umrah travel
Tunis, July 5, 2009
Tunisia has suspended Umrah pilgrimages to Makkah for fear of H1N1 flu infection, a report said.
The suspension of Umrah trips was "a necessary decision" which does not contradict Muslim doctrine, said Tunisian religious affairs minister Boubaker El Akhzouri.
He was speaking to a crisis cell set up by Tunisia's health ministry, and said the rapid spread of the A(H1N1) pandemic meant that officials should "reflect on whether or not to postpone the haj" later this year.
In the meantime, Tunisia has toughened selection criteria for haj candidates, doubling medical checks and ruling out the elderly or chronically sick on the grounds they would be "more exposed" to infection.