A food retailer has to spend three years in prison. The district court of Hagen considers it proven that the 35-year-old set fire to his store in Wetter in 2018 to get insurance money and donations.The apparent fate of Mohammad Moussa A. caused a stir in Wetter in 2018. An arson attack on a Syrian greengrocer. Before that, he had received threatening letters, the grocer claimed at the time.
It was he himself who publicly declared that the attack was xenophobic. The people believed him and so there has been a great wave of helpfulness in Wetter since April 2018. Many schools and clubs donated to the family of the trader. Volunteers helped rebuild the store.
Civil society had sent out clear signals against xenophobia with numerous events, and politicians were also present: Mayors and the entire city council came across party lines to express their solidarity with the man.
The sad truth was that the Syrian who fled to Germany in 2015 had set the fire himself. The Hagen district court is convinced of this and sentenced him to three years in prison: Faking a crime, fraud, minor and grievous bodily harm, according to the verdict.
The investigators found out about him because he claimed to have been in Gelsenkirchen at the time of the crime. In fact, however, he was at the scene of the crime before the fire department and carried propane gas bottles from his burning store.In addition, it was striking that a fuse had been turned off, thus switching off the lights and video surveillance. – The man finally got entangled in more and more contradictions. To make matters worse, he had obtained social benefits amounting to several tens of thousands of euros by fraud and threatened and also beat other people.
In Wetter many are shocked since the judgement. For example, local resident Rilana Avranidis. She lives on the second floor directly above the former greengrocer’s store. In 2018 she was surprised by the fire at night. She and her two children suffered smoke poisoning and had to be taken to hospital. Later she helped the trader with the reconstruction.
Today, the mother of two realizes: The man was obviously not concerned about the life of her family when he set fire to his store. The district court in Hagen speaks of a “selfish motivation”.
The case is also a bitter disappointment for the civic association “Wir in Wetter”. The association had organized many campaigns for the Syrian and for more cosmopolitanism after the fake attack.
And fell for a swindler who misused his ethnicity to stage himself as the victim of a xenophobic attack. Not only did he collect the insurance sum of more than 30,000 euros. He also collected donations of several thousand euros.The association “Wir in Wetter” wants to continue with its work for more cosmopolitanism. Now more than ever, they think. So that the case of the fraudster and arsonist does not harm others who really need help.