Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Dhamar’s Merchants Pay Houthi Militia $800,000 in Name of Zakat | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Houthi rmilitants hold up their weapons in Sanaa, Yemen, March 26, 2015, Reuters

Taiz- Local sources located in the Dhamar Governorate of Yemen revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that an estimated $800,000 (200,000,000 YER) was pillaged from the governorate’s Zakat return.

As one of the Five Pillars of Islam, zakat is a form of alms-giving and religious tax in Islam and a religious obligation for all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth. Houthi militias collected the money in the name of “war effort.”

Militants, Houthi militia and fighters supporting the ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh, after forcing the religious tax upon Yemenis ended up brawling over how to split their loot.

Over 60 Dhamar merchants have been reportedly detained after objecting to the large sums of money insurgency militias were forcing them to pay in the name of Zakat.

Local sources further revealed that Houthis have imposed a Zakat three times greater than the traditional annual sum. Anyone who objects on paying the requested amount is immediately taken away and is faced with malicious prosecution.

Economic analysts warned of the consequences entailed should militias continue with extorting merchants. The aftermath will affect citizens, both middle and poor classes. One of the greatest fears is that the merchants will attempt to compensate their losses through raising price rates, making it even more difficult for citizens to acquire their needs.

The disorder comes while Yemenis already undergo harsh times, as poverty rates increase and the economy finds itself sinking a lower still. Making a living has become all but difficult; moreover, citizens are left unable to provide their families with sustenance.

Vice President of the Dhamar Resistance Council’s Sheikh Abdul Hamid Alillaana urged political leaderships and the national army to alter adopted strategies, giving the Dhamar governorate priority as to be liberated from insurgency militias.

“Liberating the Dhamar Governorate will be decisive to the battle against insurgency, bringing it defeat. Dhamar is situated at the heart of Yemen, and links to over 12 other governorates. Moreover, Dhamar controls the southern gates to Sanaa, thus liberating it will cut off insurgency supply routes from Taiz, Ibb, Al Bayda, Dhale and many other governorates,” said Alillaana.

He reiterated the necessity of placing the liberation of Dhamar among the priorities of the mission on restoring Yemen to legitimate authority.

Moreover he confirmed that pro-legitimacy forces are highly supported by Dhamar’s tribes and community, therefore the process of freeing the governorate will be from within.