Refleksi: Rupanya pencuri  di Arab Saudi tidak berpuasa mesucikan diri dari 
perbuatan jahat, mereka tetap melakukan profesi meski pun di rumah ibadah. 
Bagaimana dengan konco-konco mereka yaitu para koruptor kakap mau pun teri di 
Indonesia?  Sangat menarik sekali bila para koruptor Indonesia dan 
cecunguk-cecunguk mereka benar-benar puasa dari perbuatan haram yang merugikan 
umat yang jujur.

Tuesday 23 September 2008 (23 Ramadan 1429)

      Thieves in the mosque! - Ramadan prayers offer extra cover for crooks
      Arab News 
      JEDDAH/RIYADH: Taraweeh, which is a special prayer performed only during 
Ramadan, is the best way to achieve closeness to God. Therefore mosques become 
particularly crowded during the month of fasting with worshippers. But these 
crowds also attract another type of visitor, the thief, whose favorite target 
is unattended purses in the women's sections of these houses of worship. 

      The crime works like this: Thieves, sometimes women and sometimes men 
disguised in abaya and niqab (face veil), come in while women are preoccupied 
with prayer and prostration and snatch purses from the careless and distracted. 
The men's sections are not immune to this crime, either. 

      "Although it is a time full of spirituality, it is a season for thieves 
(too)," said Ali Al-Marshad, a worshipper in Riyadh who goes every day with his 
wife and daughter to pray. "Women's mosque-prayer season in Riyadh is Ramadan; 
this could explain why they are sought by thieves. If I suspected that a man 
could break into a women's section of the mosque I would not allow my wife and 
daughter to go. I'd rather make them pray at home."

      Recently a mosque in Riyadh was struck by two men disguised in women's 
garb. They grabbed a number of purses and fled. Shortly after the women called 
the police, they cordoned off the neighborhood around the mosque to no avail - 
the men had vanished with their booty. 

      After hearing about an incident in a mosque in Al-Salama district of 
Jeddah, Maha Abdullah, a forty-something mother of four, decided it was time to 
take extra precaution. "We heard about a couple of theft incidents in the men's 
section," she said. "Thieves were pick-pocketing worshippers at the entrance or 
exit of the mosque. I became very cautious while praying. The women's section 
is unguarded and it is located in the back of the mosque. I try not to carry 
any money and I leave my mobile at home."

      Most women are careful with their bags during prayer - typically placing 
their purses in front of them so they can be mindful of their belongings during 
prayer. But still, the occasional carelessly placed personal effect is enough 
to encourage thieves to keep trying.

      Abdullah says that her mosque has a cleaning woman who also acts as a set 
of eyes. "She knows everyone and if a new face entered the mosque she becomes 
alerted immediately," she said.

      Scholar Ahmad Al-Husain said that it is not a religious obligation for 
women to pray in mosques, but that it is not recommended to forbid them from 
attending. "Although there is a number of cases where men tried to break into 
women's sections in mosques, I do not think it is a phenomenon," he said.

      Laya Abdul Kareem, 50, said a boy came into her mosque during Ramadan 
last year and tried to steal her purse. "This boy snuck into the women's 
section of the mosque and tried to steal my bag and run away," she said.

      Fortunately, Abdul Kareem was praying on a chair because of her age. The 
young boy thought she was performing prostration and attempted to snatch her 
bag. "I saw him immediately and pulled my bag out of his hands," she said. "He 
ran away and no one saw him after that."

      Since that incident, Abdul Kareem said the administrators of her mosque 
hired a woman guard as an added precaution.

      A mosque in Jeddah's Al-Rawdah district is typical - a small community 
house of worship where everyone knows each other. As with most mosques, there 
is no on-site security. Women simply watch each other's belongings and are 
mindful of new faces. 

      Mohammed Rashid, another of the mosque's attendees, says police should be 
guarding all mosques during prayer times, especially the Friday sermons and the 
Taraweeh prayers. 

      "It is unfortunate to have stealing incidents in mosques, especially 
during prayers," he said. "But some weak-hearted people don't care that God is 
watching them. There has to be security at all mosques around the country. 
Putting one police car outside of a mosque would have an effect on thieves."

      - Laura Bashraheel in Jeddah & Nuha Adlan in Riyadh

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