Saudi Arabia arrests man during pilgrimage to Queen Elizabeth


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (TBEN) — Saudi police this week arrested a Yemeni man after he advertised on social media his pilgrimage to Mecca, where he paid tribute to the memory of Queen Elizabeth II.

The pilgrim, who was not named, had posted images earlier this week showing him holding a banner honoring the late queen from the courtyard of the Great Mosque of Mecca.

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The clip quickly spread online, sparking outrage among devout Muslims and leading to the man’s arrest on Monday for “violating the precepts and instructions” of the holy site. Security forces referred him to prosecutors to be prosecuted.

The Great Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam, is off limits to non-Muslims. Saudi Arabia also bans signs and political slogans in the holy courtyard for fear of offending Islamic sensibilities. Queen Elizabeth, who died last week, was head of the Church of England.

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“Umrah to the soul of Queen Elizabeth II, may Allah grant her peace in heaven and accept her among the righteous,” the banner read in English and Arabic.

The mosque’s white-and-gray marble complex is visible behind the Yemeni man. Umrah is the lesser pilgrimage to Mecca, which can be performed at any time of the year.