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Crackdown to snare rogue Hajj travel agents

PUBLISHED: 19:34 23 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:13 05 October 2010

TRADING standards officers are cracking down on rogue travel agents in London’s East End who are not keeping their promises of once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimages to Mecca. Bogus travel operators have left hundreds of Muslims disappointed over recent years after Hajj pilgrims were ripped off by a variety of scams

By Victoria Huntley

TRADING standards officers are cracking down on rogue travel agents in London’s East End who are not keeping their promises of once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimages to Mecca.

Bogus travel operators have left hundreds of Muslims disappointed over recent years after Hajj pilgrims were ripped off by scams.

Tower Hamlets trading standards department received complaints from people who paid for five-star hotels, as one example, but only got substandard accommodation.

In extreme cases, some agents have disappeared and taken would-be pilgrims’ money with them.

CHECKING UP

Tower Hamlets councillor Abdal Ullah said: “Every year we get calls from people whose Hajj pilgrimage has not gone as they would like.

“But we will crackdown hard this year and check up on everyone and take action on any rogues.

“There are 35 to 40 travel operators in the East End offering the Hajj.”

The authority held the country’s first seminar last week to outline the responsibilities Hajj travel operators have towards pilgrims and give them an insight about their legal obligations.

Every year about two million Muslims converge on Mecca to take part in the Hajj pilgrimage. Many save for years to make Hajj.


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