Citizens and residents in the UAE concurred that begging is a serious problem and alien to society, calling for increased awareness about its risks and negative effects. They also noted that beggary rates have recently decreased thanks to the unwavering efforts exerted by the Ministry of Interior, and the set of measures enforced by other entities to counter this ill-behavior; notably intensifying control and awareness programs and campaigns, and encouraging people to report beggars.

The majority of respondents approached to shed the light on the issue said that by indulging beggars, unsuspecting community members encourage this bad behavior and prompt beggars to continue capitalizing on people’s sympathy and compassion, and cashing in on their good will to make illegal profits.. They also noted that by most beggars engage in this unethical behavior and may not be really needy, but catering to their fake allegations will keep them coming back to places where they can lucrative gains using fraudulent means and methods and even acting out a physical disability or injury, caliming to need medical care or to pay home rent, or needing cash to continue the trip home after losing their wallets, among others.

The Ministry of Interior had recently launched the “No to Begging” campaign to raise people’s awareness about the dangers of dealing with beggars. The campaign highlights that begging is an objectionable uncivilized nuisance, and opens the door for some people to engage in various forms of dupery and fraud to seek immoral alms from people who sympathize with beggars.

Citizens and residents also noted that community members are the first line of defense against this societal scourge, and combating it is a shared collective responsibility that requires people to refrain from sympathizing with beggars who can approach charity institutions that provide assistance to the needy. They added that combating beggary is a fight that requires concerted efforts and intensifying awareness programs and campaigns in this regard.

They also stressed that begging is not a widespread phenomenon in the UAE. Elaborating on this issue, Dr. Husam Salamah, Head of Media Department at Ajman University said: “Begging is not a widespread occurrence and the number of beggars has been decreasing in the UAE.” He also praised the efforts of the UAE government, including the Ministry of Interior and other charitable institutions, which were instrumental in curbing begging.” Many people concurred with Dr. Salamah, and described begging as a social affliction.

In the same context, Sheikh Talib Al Shehhi, Director of Preaching Department at the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments said: “Begging is forbidden in Islam. Almighty Allah commanded people to work hard to earn their livelihood, and to ‘walk among its slopes and eat of His provision’ according to the Quran and Sunnah that showed us the legal ways for earning money..” He also noted that people make their livelihood in different ways: some work hard and excel in their task, while others resort to objectionable methods: “It is forbidden to take begging as an occupation, by exploiting the feelings of benevolent people and their generosity,” he continued.

A number of citizens and residents noted a decrease in begging rates, as people have become more aware of beggars fraudulent methods. They also stressed the importance of boosting awareness amongst people, and encouraging them to report beggars to the police. They also reiterated their commitment to combating this scourge and its alarming risks. Emirati citizen Muhammad Muqbali noted that beggars resort to a wide variety of fraudulent methods to capitalize on people’s sympathy and compassion, and have their way to play with people’s emotions despite the warnings issued by competent authorities about the importance of showing no tolerance with beggars.

Muqbali also noted that combating this scourge is a social responsibility, and that people must cooperate with the police by reporting beggars. He also said that the year-round awareness campaigns have been valuable in reducing beggary, by boosting people’s awareness about this scourge, which is alien to the UAE society.

For his part, Citizen Abdurrahman Rashid Al Nuaimi commended the efforts of the MoI in raising people’s awareness about the need to combat begging. He also noted that the comprehensive awareness campaigns implemented at the countrywide level have contributed to decreasing the number of beggars.

Adding further, he said: “Some beggars try to manipulate people’s sympathy in public places, in front of mosques, and in markets and parks, despite the fact that the UAE provides monthly assistance to needy families, and others, via the different humanitarian organizations and the Red Crescent”. Moreover, he noted that some beggars are well-moneyed, but often resort to begging in order to make quick and easy profit.

Citizen JumaAhmed Ali talked about his encounter with the beggar, who made it a habit to seek alms at his house every three months. He said: “We should cooperate with the competent authorities to eradicate this bad behavior.” He also noted that the outreach campaigns and programs carried out recently have enhanced awareness among individuals on the need to address the scourge, and protect society against its risks.

Citizen Abdullah Saif also noted that awareness is an essential element in eradicating beggary. He also commended the efforts of the Ministry of Interior and other concerned authorities in implementing awareness-raising campaigns and urged community members not to indulge beggars, and to quickly report them.

For his part, resident Sharif Mahmoud stressed the need to prevent door-to-door begging as it could often be an introduction to commit other crimes. “Many beggars have this uncanny knack to come knocking on people’s doors in residential areas. They try to gain people’s sympathy, and responding to their fake claims only contributes to further encouraging this scourge, to make hassle-free financial profit,” added Mahmoud. He also stressed the need for awareness of the risks associated with begging, urging all stakeholders to further expand outreach campaigns to empower community members to contribute in combating this affliction.

On the same note, resident Ahmad Ghaleb Al Issa said that beggars resort to a variety of arguments and pretexts to incite people’s sympathy. “There are several channels and charitable entities across the country that help provide the needy with assistance, based eligibility. We need to be wary of beggars’ attempts to exploit the generosity and goodness of the good people of this bountiful generous land, and their keenness to helping others,” he noted.

He also underlined the importance of concerted efforts to prevent beggars from seeking immoral alms and "profiteering from mendacity", which may be depriving the real needy from these funds and assistance, calling upon community members to donate their money instead through the appropriate channels to support humanitarian efforts.

Resident Abdul Salam Mohammed concurred, saying that “charitable institutions provide financial and in-kind assistance to people in real financial difficulty, and that most beggars cannot prove such a need and simply use an easier route to obtain money from unsuspecting residents.”

Citizen Sultam Al Ameri told the story of three women begging in the different shops in the streets of Al Ain city, using different methods and tricks to collect alms. He said that he reported the women and the police immediately dispatched officers to the shopping center where they were preying on people’s emotions. “Cooperating with the police and supporting their efforts by reporting this category of people contributes to curbing the scourge of begging,” he said.

Dr. Hussam Salamah, Head of the Media Department at Ajman University, said that the UAE endeavors to provide decent quality living conditions to both citizens and residents. “Charitable institutions and benefactors provide the required assistance to those who need it, and people who are in real need must approach these entities for aid, as well as the various centers of the Ministry of Social Development,” he said, noting that the public plays an essential role in curbing this scourge.

He explained that he encountered some sturdy beggars, who, though capable of working, choose to make begging an occupation and develop elaborate techniques to seek illegal profit by capitalizing on people’s sympathy.

For his part, citizen Sultan Al Zaabi said that the problem lies in the fact that, in most people, emotional responses are much stronger than the rational response and usually take over when they are approached by beggars, telling their fake sad tales. He added that some people consider are often driven by their social and religious values, but he deems necessary for the needy to approach charity and social institutions across the UAE in order to get the necessary sanctioned help.

He also praised the unwavering efforts exerted by the MoI to fighting this scourge, and stressed the importance of organizing year-round awareness campaigns, as well as seeking the opinion of experts and clerics in this regard.

Citizen Ibrahim Ali Lahbash pointed that the number of beggars has decreased thanks to the efforts exerted by the Ministry of Interior and other authorities. He added: “Some beggars take advantage of religious occasions, or the political unrest or natural disasters in certain countries, to manipulate the emotions of residents, their generosity and philanthropic spirit.”

Citizen Ahmed Mosbeh Al Zahmy also spoke about the prevalence of begging in rural and remote areas, such as the Friday market and Al Dhaid markets. He noted that there are some habitual beggars who resort to different fraudulent methods to seek alms through mendicancy. “There are also children rented out as beggars, with no consideration to the psychological, health and even criminal implications that may face those minors,” he added.

Al Zahmy praised the MoI’s campaign; and its repeated call to citizens and residents to use the allocated hotline to report beggars, and expressed his hope to see the campaign advocated in mosques and in Friday sermons.

Abu Dhabi Police Warn Against Cyber-Begging

Abu Dhabi Police warned the public against internet begging, or cyber-begging, , which is the online version of traditional begging and begging through SMS.

Colonel Dr. Rashid Mohammad Borshid, Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), said that internet begging is an illegal practice, and called upon the public not to respond to such fraudulent communications and to report such suspicious practices immediately.

He added: “As the Internet became more sophisticated, resources became available allowing any individual to create an attractive website to beg for money with relative anonymity and under false pretenses.” He emphasized the risks and dangers of such practices, as perpetrators operate from abroad and pose as an unidentified girl in distress.”

He explained that cyber-begging takes many forms, such as begging to pay for necessary medical care, medical or residential bills. Some beggars also claim to be victims of war or natural disaster; others resort to begging for fun and fulfilling personal needs. Another kind of cyber-begging targets young men looking for love, and lure them into sending money to unknown girls, ‘bleeding their savings’ account dry’.

Colonel Dr. Borshid reiterated that cyber-begging is an objectionable uncivilized nuisance, and opens the door for some people to engage in various forms of dupery and fraud to seek immoral alms from people who sympathize with beggars.

He urged the public to cooperate with the Abu Dhabi Police by reporting all kind of beggars in Abu Dhabi by contacting the Police Operations Room on 999 or the Aman Service on 8002626. In conclusion, he said: “The main priority of the police is to address the societal epidemic of begging through community partnership.”

Al Shehhi: Not Permissible to Give Alms to Beggars

Sheikh Talib Al Shehhi, Director of the Preaching Department at the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, reiterated that giving alms to beggars is not permissible. He said that this would be disobeying the ruler, who strictly banned begging, which encourages unemployment and seeking lucrative means to make money illegally.

He praised the efforts exerted by the competent authorities, such as the Ministry of Interior, in combating this scourge. He also stressed the commitment of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments to educate the public through a wide array of sermons and lectures, and hailed the initiatives undertaken by the various media to shed the light on the dangers of beggars.

Sheikh Talib Al Shehhi also noted that some people are driven by emotions to help the beggars, who have been proven to resort to a number of methods to manipulate the emotions of residents and take advantage of their generosity. “I strongly urge those good doers to refrain from indulging those people (Beggars) for many reasons, notably because it has been strictly banned by the ruler,” he said.

Adding further, he noted that begging is not allowed in Islam except in one of a few cases explained by the scholars. “It was narrated in the Hadeeth of Qabisah bin Mukhariq Al-Hilali who said: “begging is not permissible except in one of three cases: A man who has incurred a debt (in order to reconcile between two parties; to pay off the debt if one takes responsibility of paying someone’s debt), for whom it is permissible to ask for help until; he has paid off, then he should refrain; a man who has been stricken by a calamity that has destroyed all his wealth, for whom it is permissible to ask for help until he gets enough to get by – or he said – he gets enough to meet his basic needs; and a man who is stricken by poverty and three men of wisdom among his people acknowledge that so-and-so has been struck by poverty, then it becomes permissible for him to ask for help until he gets enough to get by – or he said – to meet his basic needs. Apart from these cases, asking for help, O Qabisah, is unlawful, and the one who begs is consuming something unlawful.”

Praising the MoI’s Campaign
EHRA: Forced Child begging is a Crime against Humanity

Mohammed Salim Al Ka’bi, Chairman of the Emirates Human Rights Association (EHRA), praised the unrelenting efforts of the Ministry of Interior in preserving security and safety, as well as its role in protecting people’s rights. He also hailed the ministry’s campaign to combat beggary and eradicate it from society through a diversity of communication channels to encourage the public to promptly report beggars.

He attributed the prevalence of begging to beggars’ objectionable inclination to exploit people’s charitable spirit and their keenness to do a good deed.  He said: “Many beggars manipulate the emotions of people to lure them into extorting money to cater to often fake needs.” He also noted that some low-income expat workers in the UAE bring in their families, which may force them to seek other ways to make money, including begging.

Al Kaabi also highlighted the negative implications and dangers of begging such as forcing women and children into begging, and denounced the practice as contrary to human rights, and a “crime against humanity”.

In conclusion, he said: “Many people cannot approach charity institutions because either they have outstayed their permits and are illegal residents in the UAE, or because they are visitors who are not eligible for assistance, that have good income and are business and real estate owners. This calls for concerted efforts and firm stance from community members, government institutions, and charitable organizations.”
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