There is no ceiling for methods of fraud among adopted by weak souls – weak souls which are aplenty and found in every religion, sect and doctrine. It becomes a tragedy when workers in the fields of advocacy, preaching and guidance are involved in fraud. It becomes a tragedy when money earned through fraud by easily tricking and deceiving people and too willing to believe everything that other people say and aspire for the Lord’s forgiveness. It is the easiest method of collecting easy money and collecting wealth.
The quality of being very important and deserving respect as seen by some and their religious character gives them some of the closest immunity to sanctity, and protects them from anyone casting doubt on their actions or daring to demand their accountability or persecution, so they often exploit this status to the best.
We have seen how huge sums of money were looted from the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, and how the budgets of some sectors of printing the Qur’an, moderation and Hajj missions and many others were manipulated. We also saw in Iraq, immediately after the fall of Saddam’s rule that the first action taken by certain religious parties was to get rid of the competitors among them, including Sayyed Al-Kalidar who belonged to a family that inherited the collection of donations in the shrines. Balances worth billions in the Vatican Bank were also looted years ago, and that caused the killing or suicide of the state’s finance chief, and the issue was wrapped up perhaps to preserve the reputation of bishops and cardinals from abuse.
The Wall Street Journal, Dec 11, 2019, reported that only ten percent of donation funds go to their charities. As for the remaining ninety percent, out of tens of millions of dollars which are collected in the name of the Pope are used to cover the deficit in the budget of the treasury and not spent on the poor, the elderly and the sick, though this money is collected in their name.
In Kuwait, it was evident from a parliamentary question from MP Ahmad Al-Fadl, to the minister of 2.3 billion, during the past few years. If this amount was spent on the needy and the bedoun there would be no poor in Kuwait, as it is known that those in charge of the majority of these charities allow themselves to deduct a certain percentage from this money, because they are the ones in charge.
There is a proposal from one of the deputies to make the percentage that the association’s organizers have the right to deduct from the money they collect is up to 12%, so does this mean that they are deducting higher rates for themselves? One of the tricks that some advocacy workers, owners of publishing houses, resort to is to reissue, publish, and distribute religious books, with heavy themes, after they introduce introductions to them with “their pens”, and then ask other religious authorities to finance their luxurious printing at their expense and at their printing shops.
The list goes on and the field is narrow, and we have no choice but to invite through this article to not exclude any party or person from monitoring and scrutiny. Transparency is virtually nonexistent with the religious authorities, and if they were left alone, they would not have revealed the sources of their funds or expenditures.
By Ahmad alsarraf