How British Muslims make it to Makkah for Hajj

LONDON: With the approach of Hajj, it is all systems go at the El-Sawy travel agency in London.

Passports need to be taken to the Saudi embassy to be stamped with visas and there are myriad phone calls and emails to be made to suppliers in Saudi Arabia. Those going on their first pilgrimage — perhaps even their first long trip anywhere — will need reassurance while others who applied a little too late and missed out on a place will need placating. But from the start, one thing is obvious: You don’t get to be Britain’s oldest-established Hajj and Umrah travel agency without good people skills.

“I have also been very blessed with luck,” said the Egyptian-born travel agency owner Hamdy El-Sawy.

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