When crooks use religious platforms
Because religion is a dangerous weapon, it will continue to be targeted by crooks, war merchants and those seeking power
It has often been narrated how a crook in Kuwait used religious platforms to collect money for the needy only to be discovered later that the money was being transferred to his bank account. It is not strange that mosques have been used to trick worshippers to collect money or propagate ideas. However, this particular man, who was later arrested, tricked everyone irrespective of their religious affiliations.
He began with the sufis claiming that he was one of their sheikhs and then went to three different Sunni mosques. He took to the podium and collected money from worshippers by claiming that the money will be given to the needy. Then he wore a black turban to disguise himself as a sayyed and then went to Shiite husseiniyahs. He mourned with them and collected as much money as he could. Perhaps if there were more churches in Kuwait he would have dangled a cross and gone there too.
Fraud in the name of religion is an easy and common means that is not only limited to stealing money but also includes influencing people’s minds. Thousands of young men have sold their souls to these crooks in the name of the so-called jihad and left their homes to fight in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and other countries. These fraudulent religious operations are one of the biggest in our history. Many of these people don’t even know until this day how or why and how they have happened.
The Syrian preacher
Legend has it that there was a Syrian preacher, nicknamed Abu al-Qaqa, who was tasked with hosting enthusiastic Muslim men, organizing their recruitment process and sending them to fight in Iraq. In 2007, Abu al-Qada – who was viewed as a hero by the mujahideen – was killed. It was later discovered that he was a Syrian intelligence officer called Mahmud al-Aghasi.
Because religion is a dangerous weapon, it will continue to be targeted by crooks, war merchants and those seeking powerAbdulrahman al-Rashed
Thousands of young men were deceived by the Syrian intelligence, which planted its officers as clerics and succeeded at propagating the idea of “jihad” in Iraq. This has been done for many years in several places under different religious slogans.
And because religion is a dangerous weapon, it will continue to be targeted by crooks, war merchants and those seeking power.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on May 29, 2016.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed