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Yemeni Legitimacy Accuses Houthis of Stealing Zakat Money

Yemeni Legitimacy Accuses Houthis of Stealing Zakat Money

Sunday, 24 May, 2020 - 07:15
A health worker sprays disinfectant on a motorcycle in Sanaa on May 21, 2020. (AFP)
Aden – Asharq Al-Awsat

The Iran-backed Houthi group imposed a 500-percent increase on Zakat money during Ramadan month, which it collected from merchants, farmers, employers, and even citizens claiming it was “Zakat Eid al-Fitr”, according to Yemeni Information Minister.

Minister Muammar al-Iryani revealed that the Houthi militias pressured merchants in their areas of control to end their annual Ramadan charitable programs and distribution of food baskets to the needy, forcing them to direct the funds to finance the group's war efforts.

Iryani explained that due to Houthis’ practices, tens of thousands of destitute families lost the aid they usually receive and the money went to militia leaders.

These practices confirm the Houthis’ indifference to the human suffering of millions of poor and starving Yemenis, who, for years, had not received their salaries and suffer from deteriorating political and economic conditions resulting from the militias’ waged war, according to the minister.

Meanwhile, Houthis arrested dozens of merchants in Sanaa, Ibb, Dhamar and other regions, after they rejected the increase imposed on Zakat money.

Dozens of authors and activists issued a statement denouncing the Houthi repressive measures, warning that farmers and merchants are treated unfairly.

The statement urged the Houthi group to repeal the decision, and called upon the civil society and all human rights activists to show solidarity with the traders and peasants.

Locals in Sanaa reported that Houthis spared no effort in collecting money, including Zakat, which will be directed to finance the group’s goals and war effort, rather than be distributed to millions of hungry people in the areas under its control.

Earlier, local sources in Sanaa told Asharq al-Awsat that the group harnessed all collected funds and state’s resources to the families of its dead, wounded, and captured members.

During Ramadan, the militias distributed, through the Zakat Authority, billions of Yemeni riyals to the group's recruits and the associations responsible for sectarian and intellectual mobilization.

The Houthi insurgents also prevented merchants in areas under their control from paying their Zakat to eligible groups of poor and needy families and issued a circular requiring private sector employees to only pay to the Authority.

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