| ||A London-based conman who defrauded hundreds of Muslims of their Hajj savings has been jailed for 6 years following a Metropolitan Police investigation. |
Muslims who approached Mohammed Faruk Ahmed (pictured) of Qibla Hajj Kafela Services in London's Brick Lane, to secure their visas, accommodation and other necessities for performing Hajj in 2008, were left in the lurch when Ahmed gambled away part of the money and transferred the rest to bank accounts in Bangladesh.
Ahmed, who accumulated £570,000 from clients who contacted his agency to process their Hajj requirements, went on a spree in casinos before absconding to Bangladesh, where he had transferred the rest of his clients' money.
Detective Inspector Des McHugh of the Metropolitan Police told the BBC his team worked around the clock to ensure as many passports as possible were returned to victims so they could still submit them to the Saudi embassy for a Hajj visa.
'"Ahmed shamelessly defrauded hundreds of innocent victims who had planned the most significant trip of their lives," said Det Insp McHugh.
'"We worked hard to investigated the full scale of Ahmed's crime and officers placed themselves under additional pressure to process evidence and return passports to victims as soon as possible," he said. '
The efforts of the Metropolitan Police in bringing to justice a fraudster who sought to so callously exploit the desire of Muslims to fulfil the Islamic duty of Hajj iought to be appreciated.
Many Muslim families save for a number of years to be able to fulfil the fifth pillar of Islam. It is tragic that someone like Ahmed should take advantage of them and sully the aspirations of those preparing for their Hajj.
The story is noteworthy as the Hajj season again approaches this year.
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