Mosque Meltdown

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I’ve been thrown out of a lot of buildings along the way, but never a house of worship! At least, until now…

Watch what happens during this mosque meltdown.

This is the Dar-E-Abbas Islamic center in north Houston. The only Shia holy place in this part of town.

And we are clearly not welcome here.  

Ali Assad is the director of the nonprofit organization running the mosque.

He’s talking in Urdu, but we brought along a translator just in case.

He’s saying that you can’t do shit to me. They can’t do anything to me. They don’t know me. They don’t know what I can do to them.

That sounds like a threat. Not very charitable, don’t you think?

We came to visit after Assad ignored weeks and weeks of requests to see the charity’s financial records.

We aren’t the only ones Assad is keeping secrets from, he is hiding the records from fellow Muslims.

“The biggest complaint that I hear is that there is no transparency, and with no transparency. There is no trust. And with no trust, there is no community,” expressed Syed Hasan.

Listen as Syed Hasan makes a bold speech inside the mosque.

A mosque built with donations from his late uncle.

“What we couldn’t accomplish in ten years, my uncle did for us overnight. He built a beautiful mosque for the whole community to enjoy,” stated Syed Hasan.

Up until 2021, Dar-E-Abbas had only this mobile home for prayers, not anymore.

A new mosque was built thanks to Houston neurologist, Dr. Syed Reza. He donated nearly $300,000 in the 2 last years of his life.

We have the checks and the handwritten receipts.

“We even heard members of the community asking for donations for the same projects that my uncle had already funded,” said Syed Hasan.

$249,000 of Dr. Reza’s donation was earmarked to build a new grand place of worship.

“How much money do you think has disappeared,” asked Andrea Palacio.

“I would say probably over $100,000, if not more from that initial donation,” replied Syed Hasan.

Syed Hasan and his father, also named Syed, are determined to expose the truth. Believing donations have disappeared. That’s what his uncle was always afraid of.

“That’s what he said, that they’re all crooks. They are all cheaters. That’s what he used to just say. I don’t want to donate any money. But I don’t know. At the end of his life, he just changed his mind. He said ok, lets build this mosque,” recalls Syed Hasan.

“This is the house of Allah. This is not a business. My uncle did not build this mosque for others to make some extra cash on the side,” said Syed Hasan.

We’ve now seen the outside of the mosque Dr. Reza built.

And we have a copy of the contract.

The whole project was to cost 192,000 dollars, not 249. And the doctor’s family says the project wasn’t finished.

Bathrooms and an upgraded septic system went undone.

Those items were 35-thousand dollars of the projected cost.

“Eventually we were told the contractor ran off with a portion of the money,” recalls Syed Hasan.

The contractor says that’s not true.

“Did you not get paid for that $35,000. Did you get paid for the entire value of that contract?” asked Andrea Palacio.

I don’t remember. It’s been a while,” replied the contractor.

Would you mind checking to see,” said Andrea Palacio.  

“I don’t have to because I already. This chapter is closed for us,” concluded the contractor.

Whatever happened in his final months Dr. Reza just wanted an accounting. An accounting mosque leaders refused to give him.

He’d been asking till he died, they never gave him any report about the money he gave. And what happened to that money,” said Syed Hasan.

So, we wanted to know why the mosque was keeping secrets.

“Any organization that does not have 100% transparency has something to hide,” stated Syed Hasan.

“Dr. Reza donated a lot of money for this building,” said Wayne Dolcefino.

“Well I cannot answer. I cannot answer anything,” said Ali Assad.

“Why can’t you answer? You’re in charge,” asked Wayne Dolcefino.

Mosque members who complained to us say this man Aamir Naqvi has fled to Pakistan. He is the brother-in-law of Ali and a member of the foundation board. Ali’s wife, she’s also on the board. It’s a family affair.

 “I am standing here at this place, at this podium. I am saying may Allah curse him and his family – be destroyed and vanished forever – that person who took even a dime from this mosque community’s money – spent on for his benefit, spent on himself – did corruption – for name and fame,” said Aamir Naqvi in a speech.

Leaders of the mosque may respond with fiery words for those who question, but they refuse to let the family see the records and they’ve ignored our phone calls too.

“So, I mean, honestly, since day one, we have been never provided any proper documentation,” said Syed Hasan.

So, all we have is the foundation’s tax returns.

They report $915,000 in donations between 2017 and the end of 2021.

If the tax returns are accurate Dr.Reza provided 78% of all the money the Dar-E-Abbas foundation claims it took in, over an entire year.  His relatives don’t believe that.  

“This tax return is not prepared correctly, “states CPA Patrick Durio.

We sent the tax returns to accountant Patrick Durio to analyze.

“If I were getting ready to donate to an organization like this and I saw these types of discrepancies, there’s no way in the world I would donate,” said Patrick Durio.

The foundation declares no employees yet there’s a salary expense every year. Averaging $50,000 in both 2020 and 2021.

“And they just don’t jive,” states Durio.

Let’s see what the head of the foundation says during our unwelcome visit.

Wayne Dolcefino asked, “you have a $50k /year employee.  What is the employee’s name? On your tax return…”

Ali Assad replied, “yeah, that’s the preacher.”

The preacher, the Maulana at the Dar-E-Abbas Islamic Center is Waseem Abbas. But listen to what he said when we called.

Andrea Palacio asked, “Can you tell me what your salary is, please? What are they paying you?”

Waseem Abbasreplied, “There is no salary. Okay? But whatever the services i provide, I get paid for that.”

Before he died, we know the doctor also started donating up to $7,000 a month to the foundation specifically for the Malauna.

We have the receipts.

Dr. Reza has given you money directly to, you know, help support you,” said Andrea Palacio.

Waseem Abbas claims,” That was that was his gift. That was a gift that he had given to me for the noble services I was providing to the community.”

The foundation bought this four acre property in north Houston back in 2017, six years ago.

On its most recent tax returns the foundation declares no land or buildings.

“It just illustrates that, you know, they are don’t really know what they’re doing here or else they’re intentionally doing something wrong,” says Durio.

Maybe that explains why the charity shows it paid $4,000 in property taxes in one year. But whose property taxes?

“So, this is just strange. A nonprofit is exempt from property tax. Did they pay the property taxes on somebody’s personal residence? That definitely stood out as not making a lot od sense,” continued Durio.

“He’s probably saving money, taxes – property taxes on his personal home,” claims Syed Hasan.

Since we were told to leave the mosque, we didn’t get a chance to get a straight answer on what happened to all the donations.

Donations from people other than the good doctor had climbed to more than $157,000.

But in 2020 those other donations drop to $65,000. At least that’s what the foundation reported.

We know that Ali Assad started a new business in 2020. 

This Dollar Buy store on Veterans Memorial Dr.

The Secretary of State also shows he’s the owner of Gul-E Fatima Investment Company. That company owns a Dairy Queen on Aldine Bender.

And in early 2022, Assad he bought 4 acres of commercial land across the street from the mosque for $332,000. It’s up for sale for 869,000 dollars.

That’s why this family has now asked for a criminal investigation.

“So, I reached out to Harris County, and I filed a police report with them,” said Syed Hasan.

“You know their mission says that they’re providing education and training about Islam. But I don’t see any expenses that seem to relate to that mission,” states Patrick Durio.

“They don’t have any community outreach programs. There’s no volunteering. There’s no non-profits that they’re supporting. I mean, there’s nothing. So where is all of this money going,” states Syed Hasan.

“And your intentions to help people and to give them resources, or are you trying to make some extra money for yourself? If your answer is money and sincerely hope it’s not, then I encourage you to try and change your intentions, or step aside from your position,” said Syed Hasan in a speech.

Shia mosque members looked to the Mualana to respond to the allegations being aired out loud inside the mosque.

“As far as the management goes, I have been here for 4 years. I know how management is running this institute,” said Waseem Abbas.

But when we talked to him, he changed his tune.

Waseem Abbas said, “I have no information and I cannot comment on anything.”

Andrea Palacio asked, “Do you believe that they are accounting for the donations properly?”

“I have no idea and I cannot comment on anything. I don’t know what they’re doing,” continued Abbas.

That’s mosque member, “Sid” Waqif, and we watched him try to shame Dr. Reza’s brother for asking questions and demanding the right to see the financial record of the mosque they both pray at.

You can see this is getting ugly.

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