Stealing worshippers’ shoes
“Approximately ten times, my shoes were stolen from different mosques in the capital city,” Hisham Abdulmilk, 22, said. Abdulmilk is a Sana’a governorate resident.
“I think poverty is the biggest motive behind the spread of this problem. The lack of piety is a reason as well.”
Abdulmilk said shoe thieves sell the stolen goods in places in the capital city. New pairs of stolen shoes are sold cheaply in these markets.
“I have a number of friends who complain about the same problem. All worshippers expect their shoes to be stolen, even during Ramadan.”
More than once, Haithm Al-Salwi’s shoes were exposed to thievery.
“I came from Taiz to Sana’a many years ago; my shoes have been stolen three times.”
Al-Salwi said stealing worshippers’ shoes make some of them turn down practicing congregation prayers at mosques.
“I found myself walking barefoot,” he said. “Simply put, my shoes were stolen while praying.”
He said thieves should change their “abnormal” thoughts, asking, “How can Yemen develop while we cannot to date combat this kind of problem?”
Abdullah Abdlbari, 20, from Taiz, wondered about the continuity of this problem, saying that he hopes the whole of society would cooperate and eliminate the thievery.
Abstaining from attending mosques
Some worshippers abstain from praying at mosques because their shoes are liable to be stolen.
Once, when Ali Saif, from Lahj governorate, was praying at a mosque, his Cairo-purchased shoes were stolen. After that, he decided to stop going to mosques.
This story is similar to those of other youths concerned that they will lose their shoes while praying.
Some Yemeni worshippers put their shoes in plastic sacks and place them at their side to guard their property. Although many mosques have drawers designed for the worshippers’ shoes, the problem still exists.
Stealing related to poverty
Abdulkadir Al-Ahdal, an Imam in Sana’a, said many shoe thieves have been captured while still in the mosque.
“The majority are beggars suffering from hunger and poverty,” Al-Ahdal said.
He said some thieves are not beggars, but their immorality condones this misdeed.
The government ought to combat poverty and food insecurity in addition to other security imbalances that augment this problem, according to Al-Ahdal.
“Thus far, there are no solutions to combat this problem. We have set up a committee to look into the situation of beggars and to resolve their troubles through coordination with some businessmen and provide backup for them (panhandlers).”
Al-Ahdal said some of the thieves caught live in dire conditions, but some of them steal to buy qat.
“Some are used to being thieves, even if their living standards are good. They will go on stealing.”