When “combating terrorism” becomes a profiting business [Archives:2003/647/Opinion]

July 3 2003

Abdulkareem Ahmed Saleh
What's the story behind the sudden appearance of a number of NGOs claiming to take a role in combating fanaticism and terrorism in Yemen? Campaigning under the slogan: “Pay 1500 YR and get a monthly income of $100”.
Through a well- planned strategy, such illegal entities managed to earn tens of millions of Riyals in a short time. All they did was to rent premises in sophisticated localities in Sana'a, hang elegant signs that display the name of the so- called international organisation for eradicating terrorism, and very smartly send the word that members of the organisation receive a salary of $100 every month. Not only that, what's more is that the lucky ones who will be selected will receive training courses in the country and in the USA and many other benefits. All interested people had to do was present an application requesting to join and then voila, there he is a member of the prestigious international organisation, of course after paying the registration fees.
The organisation that took the lions share in this fishy market was one called itself Human Solitary Organisation, which hired marketers to publicize its work around the republic, and the salesmen get a percentage of every new membership fee, which is 1500 YR, they manage to get. So this means each person deceived into this membership would lose instantly 1500 YR, other than the traveling costs and so that people outside the capital would lose while following up their membership issue.
Latest statistics show that according to the last membership card taken there had been 35000 Yemenis been fooled. Multiplying that with 1500, this means 52,500,000 i.e. 52 million and half YR. This kind of smart deceiving happens under the authorities and police's nose. Taking advantage of the chaotic political circumstances and new world policies against terrorism and taking advantage of the poor living conditions Yemenis are living especially in the suburbs where people are most easily fooled.
On what legal grounds do such organisations stand? And what is the real reason behind their existence? Worse than all is that among the rumors it is using for publicity is that it makes belief that its work is being blessed and approved by high official personalities in the state so as to attract more people and to add a touch of authority to the organisation. It is worth mentioning that most of the deceived people were from Dhamar who are still waiting for the so- called salaries to come.
Will the concerned authorities stop this ridiculous trend? If those organisations had any legitimacy which is a very doubtful thing else we are really in trouble. I leave this in the hands of the authorities; if nothing is done about such organisation then we are only getting from bad to worse!