Warning to Hajj pilgrims by Tower Hamlets Council about travel scams
PUBLISHED: 18:08 19 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:27 19 July 2018
Worshippers at mosques and Muslim centres are being warned by Tower Hamlets trading standards officers about travel scams if they are planning to go on Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca next month.
Council officials are continuing their Friday visits to mosques tomorrow when they call in at the East London Mosque and Muslim centre in Whitechapel Road.
“There are unscrupulous agents who would attempt to exploit people’s religious devotion,” mayor John Biggs warns.
“I encourage anyone booking their trip to carry out appropriate checks and remain vigilant.”
His trading standards officers look in at the Mile End Bengali Muslim Association in Hamlets Way next Friday, the Shoreditch Masjid in Redchurch Street on August 3, and Wapping’s Bengali Association Noorani Masjid in Tench Street on August 10.
Advice is being given about booking through reputable agents registered with ABTA or IATA and who hold an Air Travel Organisers’ license.
It follows scams in past years when pilgrims have been caught out by rogue agents who have vanished with their money.
Complaints in past years to the trading standards office have also included flights to Saudi Arabia outside the five-day pilgrimage period, which this year runs August 19 to 24, or hotels too far from the Kaaba.
Pilgrims are also being advised to make sure vaccinations are up to date, to wash hands before and after preparing food, drink bottled or treated water and avoid animal contact which risks Middle East Respiratory syndrome caught by camels and passed from person-to-person.