Mapping the UK’s Hajj Sector

KEY QUESTIONS

*New* “Hajj Package Explainer” – Web Version with Hyperlinks is here & Print/Fold A3 Version with WWW addresses is here. The Report Executive Summary is here. Download the full Report here. A Press Release is here.

Supported by funding from the LSSI/ ESRC Impact Acceleration Account,  Seán and Research Assistant, Wahida Shaffi, launched the first independent report – Mapping the UK’s Hajj Sector: Moving towards communication and consensus (2019) – on the UK Hajj Sector at British Parliament during a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hajj and Umrah.  In collaboration with The Council of British Hajjis (CBHUK), which serves as the Secretariat for the APPG, as well as Licensed Hajj Organisers (LHO) trade association, during March 2019 the project team convened three regional stakeholder consultation events with Saudi-licensed Hajj organisers, Muslim community organisations and local Trading Standards officers.

The Report also draws upon more than 30 hours of in-depth interviews conducted with key stakeholders, including government officials, the Civil Aviation Authority and Action Fraud, since 2011.  It is developed from Seán’s preliminary report – Organising Hajj-going in Britain – which was launched at the House of Lords during a 2013 post-Hajj event hosted by the Association of British Hujjaj (ABH).

Giving feedback, London 2020.The Report evaluates moves towards self-governance through trade associations such as Licensed Hajj Organisers, and commends better communication among stakeholders sector-wide e.g. through the APPG on Hajj and Umrah.  However, Seán argues that attention must be paid to “more 360 degree views of the sector” across UK and Saudi contexts, with greater transparency in terms of international information sharing, as well as joined-up amplification of common messages across the trade, charities and agencies. In an effort to develop a more “pilgrim-centred” approach to consumer advice, during 2020 Seán subsequently worked with CBHUK and LHO to launch a new, more visual and transparent Hajj package Explainer for British Muslims thinking about making the pilgrimage to Mecca.

The Explainer was developed with Leeds-based research engagement consultants, Research Retold, supported by Research England’s Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF), which enables universities to link effectively with policy research priorities and opportunities, from the local to the international scale. The Explainer meets a policy-related need corroborated by community-based research consultant, Wahida Shaffi, who was also commissioned to establish the facts about the issues raised by Mapping the UK’s Hajj Sector among British Muslims at the grassroots.