From IslamOnline in November:

Kosovo Independence Hajj: Despite a harsh economic situation, hundreds of Kosovars are keen on performing hajj this year.

PRISTINA — This year’s hajj will have a special taste for hundreds of Kosovars embarking on the soul-searching spiritual journey.

Unlike in previous years, Kosovars travelling for Saudi Arabia will be carrying the passports of their newly independent country, Europe’s newborn.

“People are very enthusiastic to embark on hajj this year with the new passport,” Mohammed Al-Arnaout, a Kosovar, told

The dark blue travel document features the coat of arms of the Republic of Kosovo in the middle of its cover page.

“The new passport has given them identity.”

Despite the harsh economic situation in the newly-born country, hundreds of people are keen on performing hajj this year.

A second patch of 350 Kosovar pilgrims left Pristina airport on Tuesday, November 25. Some 180 pilgrims flew to Saudi Arabia earlier in the week.

Saudi Arabia, which has not yet recognized the independence of Kosovo, is treating the new passport as a valid travel document. [Saudi Arabia has since recognized Kosovo.]

However, the new passports may bring some Kosovar pilgrims a bittersweet feeling.

They allow citizens to travel only to and/or though countries that recognize independent Kosovo.

Therefore, the dark blue document may [spell] troubles to 160 Kosovar pilgrims travelling by land.

The pilgrims fear they may end up stranded at the borders of Syria and Jordan, which do not recognize Kosovo.

The United Arab Emirates remains the only Arab country that has so far recognized Kosovo. [Bahrain has since recognized as well.]

The government and the people of Kosovo have repeatedly appealed to Arab and Muslim countries to recognize their state, where Muslim Albanians make up more than 95 percent of the two-million population.