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Houthis Squander Zakat Money on Group's Fighters, Leaders

Houthis Squander Zakat Money on Group's Fighters, Leaders

Sunday, 9 May, 2021 - 10:45
Yemenis shop in an open-air market in Sanaa. (File photo: AFP)

The Houthi militias collect billions of riyals of "Zakat" money while spending them on their leaders, fighters, extremist education centers, and tribal sheiks.

Sources estimate the total amount of Zakat collected by the militias during this month at more than YR150 billion, while last year it was approximately YR75 billion, according to the financial statements published by the group’s general authority for Zakat.

However, the majority of the amount was spent on the war effort, education centers that promote sectarianism, militia members' marriages, and members of the so-called Scholars League, which includes the group’s sectarian leaders.

A bulletin issued by the authority last year showed it collected about YR70 billion, in addition to almost YR5 billion Zakat al-Fitr on individuals, while businessmen believe the amount is twice the announced number.

The authority, led by Shamsan Abu Nashtan, indicated that the group has spent YR1 billion to support its teachers, education centers, and their housing in the university. It also allocated YR3.9 billion to support the families of dead fighters and prisoners.

The group also spent YR2.25 billion for a media campaign of leader Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, in which he claims to conduct reconciliation between the tribes, while in fact, they are sums given to tribal sheiks who mobilize and recruit militants.

The Houthi bulletin stated that it spent YR500 million on Eid and winter clothing for the children of its fighters and prisoners, as well as YR160 million for food boxes for quarantine centers, and an unspecified amount for so-called medical camps.

However, all these amounts are a fraction of what the militia seizes from customs duties, taxes, licenses to mobile phone companies, revenues from state property, and trade in oil derivatives.

The group directs all the finances to its war effort under the supervision of its leader, who allows provinces' leaders to spend the money and property as they will.

Since the beginning of Ramadan month, Houthi fighters have been forcing the businessmen and shop owners in the main cities under the group’s control to pay double the zakat.

Mounir, a small shop owner in Ibb, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Houthis impose double taxes, and their representatives take half of it. He indicated that businesses add these levies to the prices of commodities, which consumers have to pay.

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