P.K. Abdul Ghafour Arab News
Beggars in Saudi Arabia are a diverse lot, said P.K. Abdul Ghafour in Riyadhs Arab News. We all know about the legions of maimed children, often Africans or other foreigners, whom gang leaders deploy outside mosques to beg alms. But according to a survey by the Department for Combating Beggary, those beggars are just the most visible. Up to onethird of the countrys beggars arent poor at all; they are simply scam artists. These peopleagain, mostly foreignersuse modern methods for extracting money from the public. They dress in decent clothes and accost the unwary with tragic tales. Men will sometimes ask for gas money, saying theyre stranded on a highway. Women will ask for taxi fare, giving some sob story about losing a brother or uncle in the crowd. Some of them take in vast sums. One man was caught with more than $10,000 on him. The passport of another listed his occupation as businessman. Islam tells believers to be charitable to the truly needybut not to fakers. The easiest way to end beggary is to stop paying beggars any money.