Police in Georgia didn’t take too kindly when the imam of a mosque in Peachton announced that all donations they had collected from the community to help victims of Hurricane Harvey would instead be sent to Syria “to help refugees of America’s perpetual war on Islam.”
“Because Donald Trump will not let victims of war and crime seek solitude in the United States, we can not in good conscience help his people when so many Muslims can not find shelter,” said Imam Sharaj Alkalb of the Ramazala Mosque. “Allah has told us that we must consider where the need is greater and respond to it.”
Not long after the Muslims who worship at the mosque had boxed everything up for shipping, they received an unexpected visitor or six. Via local newspaper the Peachton Herald:
Six police officers arrived with a warrant to search for the donations, which they say were stolen because people who contributed were told they would be going to hurricane victims in the United States rather than Muslim refugees overseas.
“I feel lied to,” says 74-year-old Peachton resident Betty Smithers, who contributed half of her social security check to the Ramazala Mosque’s alleged relief efforts. “I gave all I had and more and they are just going to send it overseas?”
“I thought charity was one of the eleven pillars of Islam,” 34-year-old Mark Haskowicz told The Herald. “This is nothing but a scam.”
Police were able to recover $100,000 in cash as well as some water and other supplies, but say that much of what was donated is still unaccounted for.
Alkalb was arrested and charged with more than 50 counts of theft by deception. His bail has been set to $250,000.
Since the intitial report, the mosque has taken their Twitter and Facebook accounts offline, but their phone number still works if you want to give them a piece of your mind: (330) 366-6476