Mother-of-seven vanishes on pilgrimage to Mecca

(Photo: FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo: FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images)

Concerns have been raised after a mother-of-seven from Birmingham disappeared in Mecca while on a pilgrimage.

Zahida Begum, 64, left for Saudi Arabia on Sunday, October 27, with her son, and three days later she disappeared from her hotel in Mecca.

Her son, Fiaz Rashid, has been searching for Begum since then.

Family members have raised concerns as she has depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, diabetes and is visually impaired.

Begum’s family told BirminghamLive that she is a “well-known figure in Birmingham’s South Asian community.”

Waqar Mahmood, Zahida’s nephew, told BirminghamLive that on October 30, her son left her in their hotel room sleeping while he stepped out to perform Islamic duties.

She woke up to find him not in the room and left the hotel in search of her son. The hotel’s CCTV showed Begum leaving the building.

He said: “She’s been gone six days and her son is worried sick. He hasn’t slept and has just been walking round looking for her.

“She has no money and no phone. We are unsure whether she has eaten or drunk. She hasn’t taken her medication.

“We don’t want to think the worst but we’re worried if she’s even alive. She’s been sighted a few times, but no one has thought anything of it.

“We have been in contact with the Foreign Office and West Midlands Police and they have advised us that Interpol is looking into this.”

The Foreign Office has confirmed they are supporting the family.

An FCO spokeswoman said: “We are supporting the family of a British woman missing in Saudi Arabia. We will do all we can to assist them during this difficult time.”