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Begging: a lifetime profession
Why those who start this job can never quit

Begging: a lifetime profession

Peregraf- Haval Zangana

As soon as Asr prayer finishes, Muhammad stands up and calls on to people out loud in Sorani dialect mixed with Kurmanci and Arabic words, since he has a sick person to care for and has no means to provide treatment for him.

The 30-year-old youth takes advantage of Ramadan to attract people’s compassion in order to obtain some money.

"God bless you, I have a sick child and have no money for his medicine, help me and may God reward you." Says Muhammad persistently and repeatedly.

In Muhammad’s family, a brother of his does the same job; begging has become his profession and he cannot abandon it. He took to this habit upon his arrival from the west of Kurdistan with the excuse of being jobless.

With the arrival of a huge number of refugees to the Kurdistan Region, begging has become so widespread that there is hardly a mosque or a public place where one or more are not seen begging for money.

Due to Zakat and Zakat Al Fitr, Ramadan, which is known as the month of charity and forgiveness, is the golden month for beggars.

Bestun Rahim, an MA holder in Sociology and a human development trainer, told Peregraf "we can say that the beggars are in a complex physiological state; they have low self-esteem, they are always depressed and incapable of confronting life obstacles, their literacy levels are low and they cannot finish schooling, their social status are low and they are looked down upon in society."

Begging is an unusual social phenomena practiced by women, men and children from different ages on the excuse of earning a living.

"Some of the beggars resort to improper acts like robbery, prostitution and human organs trafficking in exchange for a sum of money. Therefore, we can say that it is a reason for the degeneration of the individual and the society." Said Bestun Rahim.

Begging is effortless- it does not need money to start and it yields good revenue, and there are no regulations to make the beggars abandon the habit once they have started it.

Manija Aziz is a 59-year-old woman who has spent half of her life begging. It has been 28 years that she has been moving from one house to another, one mosque to another, from public places to buses, to beg for money.

The woman would accept anything that could be exchanged for money. "I accept bread, fruit, money, clothes or anything for free." Manija told Peregraf.

"After our village was destroyed and we were displaced to Iran, I was left with five children and I could not feed them, so I had to take up this job."

Even though her children are grownups and do not want their mother to beg, Manija cannot abandon her job as she says does not have other sources of income.

Kurdistan Region security forces conduct a campaign for arresting beggars every now and then, but this step has not put an end to the situation.

Sarkawt Ahmed, Sulaymaniyah Police Directorate spokesperson, told Peregraf "Recently, we have arrested more than 40 men and women but the judge released them either on bail or charged them a fee."

The reason that the police gives for the continuation of begging is that if the beggar is arrested in Sulaymaniyah he will start again in Halanja, and if he is arrested there he will move to Erbil. However, anyone arrested twice by police would be jailed for six months or a year.

Sarkawt Ahmed said that because the borders are open, many beggars sneak in from Iran and form groups here.

Children are one of the victims of begging; in many public streets, public places and mosques, adults would use a child or a disabled person to gain people’s sympathy and eventually gain some money.

Sarkawt Ahmed explained, "Children are not arrested but are taken by a council in District Center to Teenagers House where their family are called and they will have to sign a promissory note that they will not use the child for begging. If the case happens again the parents will be responsible."

He also disclosed that some of them are engaged in robbery or prostitution. "In the first four months of 2019, over 100 people were arrested and taken to court, but they have all been released. Most of the beggars are either from Iran or the middle of Iraq, and locals are rare."

In accordance with the regulations of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the custody will be taken from the parents who use children for begging.

Muhammad Gomashini, the spokesperson of the Independent Board of Human Rights in the Kurdistan Region, told Peregraf: "This is also a problem as there is no place designated for these children. The beggars use children and there is no place to keep them, the sole resolution in to strengthen the monitoring on the mosques"

"The case of using children for begging has not been solved in the region. The Human Rights Board, the Ministry of Labour and the municipal police teams have been working on the matter but it is only solved temporarily and surface again."

Moreover, the types of begging have now changed; some of them use techniques like selling chewing gum to ask for money from people in public places in order to avoid being investigated.

"When they see security forces, they pretend to be selling chewing gum. Now this issue has extended to the mosques; a youth would put a one-year-old child in front of him and cry to attract people’s sympathy, and the government cannot afford to place police at every mosque." Added Gomashini

Gomashini also claimed that following investigations, they found out many arrested beggars were taken to the location in expensive cars by their spouses.

Peregraf also found out that now any announcement for collecting money in the mosques is banned, except for the ones collected to build mosques by and are permitted by the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs.

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Begging: a lifetime profession

2019-05-26 11:37:49

Peregraf- Haval Zangana

As soon as Asr prayer finishes, Muhammad stands up and calls on to people out loud in Sorani dialect mixed with Kurmanci and Arabic words, since he has a sick person to care for and has no means to provide treatment for him.

The 30-year-old youth takes advantage of Ramadan to attract people’s compassion in order to obtain some money.

"God bless you, I have a sick child and have no money for his medicine, help me and may God reward you." Says Muhammad persistently and repeatedly.

In Muhammad’s family, a brother of his does the same job; begging has become his profession and he cannot abandon it. He took to this habit upon his arrival from the west of Kurdistan with the excuse of being jobless.

With the arrival of a huge number of refugees to the Kurdistan Region, begging has become so widespread that there is hardly a mosque or a public place where one or more are not seen begging for money.

Due to Zakat and Zakat Al Fitr, Ramadan, which is known as the month of charity and forgiveness, is the golden month for beggars.

Bestun Rahim, an MA holder in Sociology and a human development trainer, told Peregraf "we can say that the beggars are in a complex physiological state; they have low self-esteem, they are always depressed and incapable of confronting life obstacles, their literacy levels are low and they cannot finish schooling, their social status are low and they are looked down upon in society."

Begging is an unusual social phenomena practiced by women, men and children from different ages on the excuse of earning a living.

"Some of the beggars resort to improper acts like robbery, prostitution and human organs trafficking in exchange for a sum of money. Therefore, we can say that it is a reason for the degeneration of the individual and the society." Said Bestun Rahim.

Begging is effortless- it does not need money to start and it yields good revenue, and there are no regulations to make the beggars abandon the habit once they have started it.

Manija Aziz is a 59-year-old woman who has spent half of her life begging. It has been 28 years that she has been moving from one house to another, one mosque to another, from public places to buses, to beg for money.

The woman would accept anything that could be exchanged for money. "I accept bread, fruit, money, clothes or anything for free." Manija told Peregraf.

"After our village was destroyed and we were displaced to Iran, I was left with five children and I could not feed them, so I had to take up this job."

Even though her children are grownups and do not want their mother to beg, Manija cannot abandon her job as she says does not have other sources of income.

Kurdistan Region security forces conduct a campaign for arresting beggars every now and then, but this step has not put an end to the situation.

Sarkawt Ahmed, Sulaymaniyah Police Directorate spokesperson, told Peregraf "Recently, we have arrested more than 40 men and women but the judge released them either on bail or charged them a fee."

The reason that the police gives for the continuation of begging is that if the beggar is arrested in Sulaymaniyah he will start again in Halanja, and if he is arrested there he will move to Erbil. However, anyone arrested twice by police would be jailed for six months or a year.

Sarkawt Ahmed said that because the borders are open, many beggars sneak in from Iran and form groups here.

Children are one of the victims of begging; in many public streets, public places and mosques, adults would use a child or a disabled person to gain people’s sympathy and eventually gain some money.

Sarkawt Ahmed explained, "Children are not arrested but are taken by a council in District Center to Teenagers House where their family are called and they will have to sign a promissory note that they will not use the child for begging. If the case happens again the parents will be responsible."

He also disclosed that some of them are engaged in robbery or prostitution. "In the first four months of 2019, over 100 people were arrested and taken to court, but they have all been released. Most of the beggars are either from Iran or the middle of Iraq, and locals are rare."

In accordance with the regulations of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the custody will be taken from the parents who use children for begging.

Muhammad Gomashini, the spokesperson of the Independent Board of Human Rights in the Kurdistan Region, told Peregraf: "This is also a problem as there is no place designated for these children. The beggars use children and there is no place to keep them, the sole resolution in to strengthen the monitoring on the mosques"

"The case of using children for begging has not been solved in the region. The Human Rights Board, the Ministry of Labour and the municipal police teams have been working on the matter but it is only solved temporarily and surface again."

Moreover, the types of begging have now changed; some of them use techniques like selling chewing gum to ask for money from people in public places in order to avoid being investigated.

"When they see security forces, they pretend to be selling chewing gum. Now this issue has extended to the mosques; a youth would put a one-year-old child in front of him and cry to attract people’s sympathy, and the government cannot afford to place police at every mosque." Added Gomashini

Gomashini also claimed that following investigations, they found out many arrested beggars were taken to the location in expensive cars by their spouses.

Peregraf also found out that now any announcement for collecting money in the mosques is banned, except for the ones collected to build mosques by and are permitted by the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs.