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By Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
December 3, 2007
Suddenly, a new national debate is beginning about the national security, economic and other implications of Persian Gulf potentates using their petrodollars to buy up strategic American assets. Most recently, the Emir of Dubai’s purchase at fire-sale prices of 4.9 percent of the largest U.S. bank, Citigroup, has caused a level of unease not seen since he tried to buy his way into a large number of this country’s port facilities.
Almost completely unremarked thus far has been a parallel – and in many ways far more insidious – effort to penetrate, influence and dominate America’s capital markets: so-called “Shariah finance.” Some estimates suggest that there are approaching $1 trillion now being invested around the world under this rubric. If present trends continue, all other things being equal, such funds may grow to many times that amount within a few years.
Shariah is, of course, the term used by adherents to the totalitarian ideology practiced by the Saudi Wahhabis, the Iranian mullahs and the Taliban to describe the all-encompassing theocratic code they use to justify repressive rule at home and to extend their dominance elsewhere. While it is often depicted by its promoters as Koranic in character, in fact, it is largely man-made, the product of dictates and rulings by caliphs and scholars over many centuries.
For non-Muslims, Shariah is best known for its sanction for the brutalization of women, homosexuals and Jews. Beheadings, amputations, flagellation and stoning are among the prescribed punishments for those who transgress this barbaric code, punishments plucked from primitive tribal practices in the Arabian deserts dating back to medieval times.
As a recent, excellent paper by my colleague at the Center for Security Policy, Alex Alexiev, points out, however, Shariah finance is a relatively contemporary innovation. It was not until mid-20th Century that Islamofascist ideologues like Abul ala Mawdudi and Sayyid Qutb introduced the notion that faithful Muslims must invest their wealth only in vehicles that comply with Shariah’s putative prohibition on interest. In the decades that followed, relatively few in the Muslim world followed this admonition as most Muslims regarded with appropriate skepticism financial schemes that generally were not reliable investments, especially those that went to almost-farcical lengths to conjure up returns without acknowledging they amounted to interest payments.
Until now. In recent years, the windfall revenues flowing to the oil-exporting nations of the Persian Gulf have translated into an opportunity for the Islamists who dominate their societies to enlist the West’s leading financial institutions as partners in promoting Shariah finance. In overseas capital markets and increasingly on Wall Street, “Shariah advisors” are being hired at great cost to bless investment instruments as compliant with this religious code.
As a result, three ominous things are occurring:
First, Shariah finance creates a mechanism for systematically legitimating the underlying, repressive theo-political regimen – and, thereby, advancing its adherents’ bid to govern all Muslims and, in due course, the entire world.
Presumably, Western bankers and investment houses would be horrified to know they are helping promote such arrangements. One would think their governments would be, too. Yet, the former are so avidly pursuing Mideast wealth that few seem prepared to engage in even the most superficial due diligence about the implications of Shariah finance. And British prime minister Gordon Brown, for example, has declared he intends to make London the Islamic finance capital of the world. His government has said it intends to issue its own sukuk (or “Shariah-compliant” bonds) sometime next year.
The trouble is that, having embraced one aspect of Shariah, it will be vastly more difficult, if not as a practical matter impossible, to deny Islamist activists their demands to accommodate other aspects such as: footbaths in public institutions, prayer rooms and time off for prayers in both public and private sector establishments, latitude for cab drivers and cashiers to decline to do business with certain customers or handle certain products, an Islamist public school in Brooklyn, etc. Like Shariah finance, each of these is but a beachhead in the Islamofascists’ patient, determined and ultimately seditious campaign to subvert and supplant Western free societies.
Elsewhere in some of those societies, such inroads have been expanded to include: demands for Shariah-compliant schools as in the UK; a push in Canada for separate shariah courts for all matters within the Muslim community; Shariah tolerance for honor killings of women attempted in Germany; destruction of non Shariah-compliant businesses in dedicated “Muslim enclaves” in France; and in various countries, Shariah-approved assassinations of critics of Islam and anyone leaving Islam worldwide.
Second, the Shariah advisors hired by Western capitalists to determine whether investments are “halal” (the Muslim equivalent of kosher) are generally among the foremost adherents to the Islamist creed and associated with organizations that promote it. As one of them put it, Shariah investing is simply “financial jihad” against the unbelievers.
Third, under the direction of these Shariah advisors, at least 2.5% of the proceeds of the investments they control are donated to Zakat funds. Some of these “charities” have been known to contribute to organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah, the families of suicide bombers in Palestinian communities and Islamist madrassas in places like Pakistan. As investment advisors start promoting Shariah finance vehicles and Islamic indexes like Standard & Poors and Dow Jones, non-Muslim Americans will find themselves tithing to these dubious causes, as well.
Before the Trojan horse of Shariah finance is fully wheeled inside the gates of the American capital markets, federal regulators, corporate boards of directors and U.S. shareholders need to understand whether such investing conforms with the good governance and accountability required under Sarbanes-Oxley, the transparency depositors are entitled to under our banking laws and legislation barring material support to terrorism. To do otherwise is to invite the introduction of the instrument of our undoing into our capitalist system and the freedom-loving society it underpins.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
by Patrick Wood
December 14, 2007
The Bible warns that "… the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil" (1 Ti. 6:10) So, just when you think you have just about seen it all, something even more shocking turns up. Like this…
Either global bankers are seducing Islamic dictators, or vice versa. Even if they are seducing each other at the same time, the result will be the same: Islamic/Shari'a banking is coming to the United States and other western nations, thanks to global banks such as Citigroup, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.
With Great Britain now pledging to become the Islamic banking center of the world, the stampede by all global banks to enter the world of Islamic banking is well underway.
Western banking met Islam many decades ago, but only began to sleep with her a few years ago. Since then, it is has become a wanton and open affair.
The implications for the west, and especially for the United States, are staggering. Because all Islamic banking products must be created and offered according to strict Shari'a law, global banks are doing for Islam what it could never do on its own: give legitimacy to Shari'a and infiltrate it into the fabric of western society.
What is Islamic banking?
Simply put, "Islamic banking and finance" creates, sells and services products that are in strict accordance with Shari'a. In the Islamic culture, it is referred to as "Shari'a finance" and covers the practices of banking, investment, bonds, loans, brokerage, etc.
To insure Shari'a compliance, banks must hire Shari'a scholars to review and approve each product and practice as "halal", the Muslim equivalent of kosher in Judaism. Because there is a shortage of such scholars, there is competition between banks to find the best expert to sit on their boards of directors. This provides the highest legitimacy to each ruling because it is made at the director rather management level.
It should be noted that most of these scholars are from the school of radical Wahhabi/Salafi Shari'a in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, holding views diametrically opposed to the basic values of Western civilization.
Shari'a finance has many differences from orthodox banking: Notably, it cannot charge interest (usury) and it calls for alms giving (zakat). It also calls for avoidance of excessive risk and may not be associated in any way with gambling, drinking alcohol, eating pork, etc.
Zakat demands a tithe of 2.5 percent of revenue be donated to Islamic charity. If western banks follow this rule, their contributions will be staggering. It is certain that a portion of this money will end up in the hands of radical Muslims who are sworn to destroy the U.S. and replace its government with Shari'a law.
Shari'a finance is a recent phenomenon. There were very few Islamic banks prior to 1980. However, with the Khomeini revolution in Iran in 1979, Shari'a was summarily imposed throughout Iran and Shari'a finance took off.
The dark side of Shari'a
Shari'a is the legal and judicial system of Islam that is brutally imposed on many Islamic countries in the middle east. It is the specific embodiment of the totalitarian ideology practiced by the Taliban, Iranian Mullahs and Saudi Wahhabis.
Shari'a is perpetuated by claiming to have its roots in the Koran, but in fact it is mostly the product of rulings and dictates made by Islamic scholars and caliphs over several centuries.
For non-Muslims, Shari'a is best known for its medieval, harsh brutality. Many rulings handed down by Shari'a courts have shocked the western world, for instance:
To the average western mind, Shari'a is no more than a medieval, barbaric code that somehow survived to the 21st century. It flies in the face of western law, philosophy, liberty and freedom. Furthermore, it is the vehicle used to call for the complete destruction of the west and in particular the United States of America, which then will be replaced by Shari'a dictatorships.
- The December, 2007 "teddy bear" case in Sudan, where a British teacher was sentenced to 40 lashes and a year in jail for allowing her students to name their teddy bear "Mohammad." Islamic mobs demonstrated in the streets and called for her execution.
- The November, 2007 case where a 19 year old gang-rape victim in Saudi Arabia received a sentence of 200 lashes for riding in the car with her rapists.
- In 2006, a 34 year-old mother was forcibly raped and ultimately tried and convicted of adultery, and was ordered to be stoned to death.
- Shari'a demands total and unquestioned submission. Its subjects are told that Shari'a is given by Allah and that whatever befalls them (good or bad) is Allah's will. To question a judgment under Shari'a (right or wrong) is to question Shari'a itself and will only bring harsher punishment. If a person receives harsh punishment for something they didn't do, the rationale is that Allah could and would have prevented it if that had been his will. This fatalistic and deterministic approach allows Shari'a rulers to get away with virtually any thing that enters their head.
How the banking rocket took off
At the behest of global trade moguls, numerous Free Trade Zones (FTZ's) were created throughout the Islamic world that were full of windfall conditions.
For instance, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), is a 110 acre free trade zone that was founded in 2004 in Dubai, UAE. According to the DIFC website, participants will enjoy "zero tax rate on income and profits, 100 per cent foreign ownership, no restrictions on foreign exchange or capital/profit repatriation, operational support and business continuity facilities."
Not surprisingly, Morgan Stanley's application was one of the first approved by the Dubai Financial Services Authority to operate within the DIFC.
The director-general of the DIFC Authority, Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, welcomed Morgan Stanley by stating,
"This is a testimony to our status as an international financial centre of repute. Morgan Stanley is a highly reputed organisation and to have them here at the DIFC is a vindication of our strategy to create a world-class financial hub for the region. The opportunity available within the region, along with the state-of-the-art infrastructure and the international regulatory framework of the DIFC, provides the ideal platform for institutions such as Morgan Stanley to grow their business." [Emphasis added]
DIFC and similar Free Trade Zones are a banker's nirvana into which global bankers have rushed headlong to establish regional financial centers.
And the payoff? A chance to enter and then dominate the Islamic banking industry. Such banking has over $1.5 trillion on the table today, and is growing at a steady and explosive rate of over 15% per year.
Good old western know-how
Understanding that Islamic banking is a very recent phenomenon is underscored by the fact that its largest and most prestigious international conference, World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) has met for a mere 14 years. The most recent meeting just concluded in Bahrain and attracted over 1,000 banking delegates from 35 countries.
Two years ago, the 12th annual WIBC (2005) conference kicked off with the "Governor's Table" session titled "Regulation & Business: Creating a Framework for Islamic Banking & Finance to Thrive." Panel member and speaker number two was Dr. David Mullins, CEO of Vega Asset Management in New York.
Who is Mullins? He is in the white-hot core of international banking. Mullins was Vice Chairman and Governor of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System under Greenspan during George H.W. Bush's presidency. As governor, he represented the Fed at meetings of the G-10 Governors, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Bank for International Settlements. Prior to that, he was the Assistant Secretary for Domestic Finance at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
The next topic at the Governor's Table was "Industry in Transition: Trends & Innovations for Islamic Financial Institutions in an Increasingly Competitive Global Market," where several speakers included Dr. Samuel L. Hayes III, Jacob Schiff Professor of Investment Banking Emeritus at Harvard Business School. According to Hayes,
"The growing acceptance among Muslims of Halal savings and investment products over the past decade has been impressive. Consequently, a number of conventional Western financial institutions have eagerly moved into this market as the array of investment vehicles has broadened."
The closed-door CEO Strategy Session was centered around the McKinsey Competitiveness Report, developed in conjunction with the WIBC by the very elite McKinsey & Company based in New York.
In fact, McKinsey & Company was listed as a "Strategic Partner" of the WIBC, alongside of global accounting firm Ernst & Young and the consummate global investment banker, Goldman Sachs. (Remember that in 2005, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson was CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs.)
Another key speaker was Dr. Robert Kaplan, Baker Foundation Professor at the Harvard Business School and acclaimed author of many management books like Balanced Scorecard and Strategy Maps. In a pre-conference press release, Kaplan stated
"I look forward to presenting to Islamic banking leaders the latest ideas on strategy execution that delivers performance breakthroughs. I will present how successful organizations have built strategy maps around a common value proposition, communicated to and motivated the workforce, and installed a new Office of Strategy Management to sustain strategy execution."
More recently, on December 6, 2007, the general manager of the Bank for International Settlements, Malcolm Knight, addressed the Islamic Financial Services Board Forum in Frankfurt, Germany:
"Clearly, there is expanding demand for these products, and a closely associated desire on the part of banks, including non-Islamic banks, to provide Islamic financial services… The broadening appeal of Islamic finance is also evident in the move by large international banks and other private sector financial institutions to provide Islamic financial services."
Mullins, Hayes, Kaplan, McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, Ernst & Young, Bank for International Settlements? Do you see the pattern?
The west is giving away the know-how, with gusto, to enable Shari'a banking and guarantee its success throughout the world. And to what ends?
For one, Britain's PM Gordon Brown has pointedly stated that he intends to make London the Islamic finance capital of the world. Further, he pledged that in 2008 the British government will issue its own "sukuk", or Shari'a compliant bonds. Yes, government debt issued as Shari'a compliant.
At the June 13, 2006 Islamic Finance Trade Conference in London, Brown revealed,
"Today British banks are pioneering Islamic banking - London now has more banks supplying services under Islamic principles than any other Western financial centre."
Brown's statements can only be taken as a challenge by the New York banking establishment to beat him to the finish line. It doesn't matter who wins this race because the result will be the same: Shari'a banking is quickly encircling the globe and forcing a de facto acceptance of Shari'a law.
International bankers have long ago proven themselves to be completely amoral when it comes to money. They bankrolled the Bolshevik Revolution in 1918 just as blithely as they bankrolled Hitler in the 1930's. Fortunately for us, neither succeeded in conquering the world.
With Islam, odds of its succeeding are radically different. To start with, there are already 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and it is the fastest growing religion in history. Secondly, the spread of Islam is richly financed by the oil that is extracted from mid-eastern countries. Thirdly, Islam has already infiltrated most of the west, especially in Europe.
And now, Islam has behind it the combined support and encouragement of the entire global banking community.
The unholy alliance between Islam and global banking may be the final leg on the age-old quest for global domination. Don't be surprised at the silence of the global elite the next time you hear Islamist mobs chant "Death to America" - their goals are now intertwined.
by The Editors
There has been much talk about Shari'a-compliant finance (SCF) in recent months, but many Americans are still in the dark about exactly what it is and what it portends for the American economy and the freedoms Americans enjoy.
This may be why the judge in the Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas last fall declared a mistrial and five of six defendants face a retrial (one was found not guilty of most of the charges against him). Terror expert Douglas Farah surmised at the time that part of the reason might have been because "perhaps the prosecution tried to cram too much information in with a group of jurors largely unfamiliar with anything to do with the case." And Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism had a heated exchange with Alan Colmes of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes about whether the mainstream news media had even managed to get the story right.
So what exactly is SCF?
Part of Shari'a Law
SCF is a part of Shari'a law (also known as Islamic law), and dates back to the 9th Century. Shari'a law encompasses every facet of one's life, and those who seek to impose it upon Muslims - and the world - look to regulate everything from aspects of religious and social customs to political and military responsibilities. Shari'a law is, in fact, the law in countries like Saudi Arabia , Sudan and Iran . The Taliban also recognizes Shari'a law, and subjected all of Afghanistan to it before U.S. forces entered that country after 9/11.
Earlier this year, Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury faced a firestorm after he suggested in a BBC interview that the adoption of Shari'a law in Britain "seems unavoidable and, as a matter of fact, certain conditions of Sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law, so it is not as if we are bringing in an alien and rival system." While his seemingly willing acceptance of this might shock, UK Muslims on welfare are eligible to receive extra benefits if they have more than one wife - even though polygamy is considered illegal under British law. So, in essence, the Archbishop was correct when he said "certain conditions" of said Shari'a law are already recognized in today's British society.
Here is a partial listing of the effects of Shari'a law:
Risks involved with Shari'a-Compliant Finance (SCF)
- Women must obtain permission by their husbands or other male family members to do just about anything, including leaving the house - which she must do in the company of a male family member.
- Women and girls who are considered "disobedient" may be beaten into submission. (Mahmoud Salash, an imam in Lexington , Kentucky , said men "should beat them lightly" and it is acceptable because "it's in the Koran.")
- Those who dishonor the family are subject to "honor killings." Typical reasons include a woman being raped or a woman dating/marrying a man against the will of her family. (Earlier this year, two girls in Irving , Texas were the victims of an alleged "honor killing" by their Muslim father, who is said to have disapproved of their American boyfriends and lifestyle.)
- Dhimmitude (inferior status) of non-Muslims.
- Death for those who slander Islam and for Muslims who leave the faith (apostates).
Under SCF provisions, profits must not benefit from anything considered haram (forbidden) in Islam such as gambling, alcohol, entertainment, pork products, etc.
As such, Western financial institutions wishing to obtain some of the billions of petrodollars from the Middle East are offering services that meet these requirements. Still, not all profits will meet these stringent constraints and so to "cleanse" or "purify" them, they are donated to Islamic charities. Charity sounds well and good until you stop to think that some of these charities support Islamic Jihad. In fact, the three largest Shari'a-compliant charities in the United States were closed down by the government for funding terrorist organizations: the aforementioned Holy Land Foundation, the Benevolence International Foundation and the Global Relief Foundation.
How many Americans would approve of SCF if they knew its full implications? Deroy Murdock makes an apt comparison:
Turn your clock back 70 years. Imagine that Wall Street banks and brokerage houses sold Nuremberg-compliant bonds and stock funds in 1938. American Nazi sympathizers bought financial instruments certified by Berlin-based advisors as free of "Jewish profits" from, say, Salomon Brothers and Bloomingdale's.
In turn, a percentage of such funds' gains underwrote pro-Nazi charities, like the German-American Bund, and similar organizations in the Fatherland, like the Hitler Youth.
And so by investing in SCF schemes, Western financial institutions not only give Shari'a law credence but also ultimately aid Islamists in their attempt to use our own financial system against us. As it is, the West is subject to the ups and downs in the Middle Eastern oil industry. Could SCF be the next sub-prime crisis in the making? Think about it: the more money that is invested in the Middle East, the greater ability for the Middle East to pipe the tune the West dances to.
The Center for Security Policy has embarked on a national campaign to warn the public that U.S. financial institutions and businesses engaged in SCF pose a danger to American and Western freedoms. The initiative was launched with a panel discussion at Harvard Law School on April 17th, two days before the Islamic Finance Project of Harvard University Law School's Islamic Legal Studies Program presented the Eighth Harvard University Forum on Islamic Finance.
In addition to the panel discussion, CSP provided the Harvard board of governors a letter stating (in part):
We believe that Harvard has a civic and academic responsibility to disclose fully all material information about Shariah.
Simply stated, the fundamental purpose of authoritarian Shariah law is the establishment of a world-wide hegemony, a caliphate, under which that code is imposed on Muslims and non-Muslims alike. In other words, Shariah law has, among its goals, the destruction of our Constitution and basic liberties.
The means by which this end is to be achieved include violent Jihad. Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist promoters of SCF have regarded it as another tool to advance their agenda. Some have even called it "financial Jihad."
The letter was signed by representatives from 18 organizations, including the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, the Alliance of Iranian Women, the David Horowitz Freedom Center and others.
Several prominent individuals in the fight against Islamic terrorism, Shari'a law and Shari'a finance contributed to the panel discussion. One, M. Zuhdi Jasser, head of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (and a Family Security Matters Contributing Editor), had this to say in a delivered statement about SCF:
Make no mistake. So-called "Sharia-compliant financing" is neither about religion nor about God. It is about Islamist control and collectivization of Muslims against "the West" and free markets. Transnational Islamist movements of Muslim theocrats seek SCF systems as nothing more than a ruse. Islamist theocrats exploit Western deference to religious freedom in order to lay the foundations of economic systems which feign religion in order to strangulate the economic freedoms of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Governments and banks who facilitate SCF become complicit in the protection of theocrats who seek to control economics rather than stimulate the economic freedom of Muslims. This is the difference between theocracy and liberty. Instead of lay citizens controlling their own economic transactions, "the invisible hand" becomes the hand of the Islamist cleric. For many pious Muslims, any cleric determining what is and what is not "Shariah compliant" defies the entire basis of religious freedom and economic freedom alike. To many pious Muslims, only God can determine what is and what is not truly "Shariah compliant." Individual Muslims are free to choose how to live their lives in a personally "Shariah compliant" manner as long as our nation provides the milieu for free markets and infinite economic choices.
SCF is not about choices. It's about control and diversion. For the West to succumb to the infiltration of SCF is to abandon so many Muslims who escaped the Middle East in order to be free to self-determine what is and what is not SCF in our own private daily practice while countering the theocratic influence of Islamists. SCF schemes are less about Muslims than they are about Islamists and their need to control Muslim populations and their monies.
Speaking in person was Manda Zand Ervin of the Alliance of Iranian Women:
I was born and raised in Iran. On June 17th of 1979 I fled the Sharia rule and left my ancestral homeland behind. Since I have been living in the free society, I have become an advocate for the human rights of the women and children of Iran . I have studied Sharia laws - not only the laws pertaining to women and children, [but] also all of the others and I have found them only workable in the 6th Century Arabian Peninsula society.
Ever wonder why all the Islamic countries are so far behind the rest of the world, considering the enormous amount of petrodollars they receive? Besides the corruption, it is the Shariah law that keeps them behind.
Ayatollah Khomeini took over the secular Iran in 1979, to reverse the constitutional revolution of 1906, for modernity, and turned it back to the Shariah laws. After forcing the women and children to live as second class citizens under the Shariah laws, he ordered the implementation of the Shariah banking laws - one of which was the removal of interest payments. Khomeini declared that it was Ursury and Allah has made it harum (meaning forbidden to the Moslems) in the Bagharah Surah, in the Koran.
Khomeini disrupted the whole system of the secular, Western style-banking and damaged the thriving economy of Iran . Iran's economy has steadily worsened and although the Islamic regime did bring the Ursury back to the banking system (under another name, of course), other financing and economic laws [and] such inadequate fiscal policies [and] lack of legal transactions in Shariah laws have prevented Iran's economy to recuperate.
There are Moslems who have come to the West just to be able to feed their fami[lies], a Pakistani cab driver told me. But to millions of other Moslems, who have fled the rule of Islam and Shariah laws, it is disconcerting when the same laws they fled from threaten them in the West.
Finally, Wafa Sultan made a statement by proxy, as she and her family live in hiding in southern California . (A subtle death threat to Sultan was recently issued by the Father of Islamic Finance, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who lives in Qatar .)
I am Wafa Sultan. I was born and raised as a Muslim, and had lived for the first three decades of my life under Islamic Shariah which reduced me to subhuman creature.
And here I am, living in the United States of America , the cradle of freedom and Western civilization, regaining my rights and enjoying my humanity.
It's my responsibility and out of respect and appreciation I have made it my mission to warn my fellow Americans against the danger of applying Islamic Shariah, which violates the basic human decencies. Applying Islamic Shariah here in America is an insult to every human being that values our way of life, especially to every man and woman who are (sic) risking their lives to get rid of it in their Islamic countries.
Please be aware of al-Quradawi, them most prominent Imam in the Islamic world, who has been issuing various fatwa to kill the infidels. Right after my last interview on Al Jazeera, he accused me of insulting Allah and Muhammed. And it is due to his accusation that I am in hiding.
Can you comprehend yourself as an American citizen living in hiding in your own country?
Please don't take your freedom and other Western values for granted; defend them and stand up against the hateful Islamic Ideology backed by Shariah law.
Thomas Paine once said, "If there must be trouble, let it be in my time that my children might live in peace."
Likewise, it would be shameful for all of us to set still and allow the Islamists to prevail. Thank you for providing me with this opportunity to express my strong opposition to apply any decree of Islamic Shariah law.
American taxpayers deserve to know not only the facts about SCF, but also which financial institutions may be taking part in what is ultimately an illegal endeavor. Financial need (greed?) should not trump common sense.
by Chelsea Schilling
November 05, 2008
The Treasury Department has announced it will teach "Islamic finance" to U.S. banking regulatory agencies, Congress and other parts of the executive branch today in Washington, D.C. - but critics say it is opening a door to American funding of Islamic extremism.
'Islamic Finance 101'
According to its announcement, the "Islamic Finance 101" forum is "designed to help inform the policy community about Islamic financial services, which are an increasingly important part of the global financial industry."
The Treasury Department has collaborated with Harvard University's Islamic Finance Project to coordinate the event. The department says it expects about 100 people will attend the seminar.
Some speakers include Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Neel Kashkari, senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Jr.; Harvard Business School professor Samuel Hayes; Mahmoud El-Gamal, chair of Islamic economics, finance and management at Rice University and Islamic finance adviser to the Treasury Department; Sarah Bell of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo, Shariah adviser and Islamic scholar; Michael McMillan, chair of the Islamic Legal Forum at the American Bar Association and professor of Islamic finance; and Rushdi Siddiqui, global director for the Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes and vigorous advocate for Islamic finance.
Islamic finance is a system of banking consistent with the principles of Shariah, or Islamic law. It is becoming increasingly popular, having reached $800 billion by mid-2007 and growing at more than 15 percent each year. Wall Street now features an Islamic mutual fund and an Islamic index. However, critics claim anti-American terrorists are often financially supported through U.S. investments - creating a system by which the nation funds its own enemy.
Aiding the enemy
In his essay, "Financial Jihad: What Americans Need to Know," Vice President Christopher Holton of the Center for Security Policy writes, "America is losing the financial war on terror because Wall Street is embracing a subversive enemy ideology on one hand and providing corporate life support to state sponsors of terrorism on the other hand."
Holton refers to Islamic finance, or "Shariah-Compliant Finance" as a "modern-day Trojan horse" infiltrating the U.S. He said it poses a threat to the U.S. because it seeks to legitimize Shariah - a man-made medieval doctrine that regulates every aspect of life for Muslims - and could ultimately change American life and laws.
Shariah-compliant finance is becoming a major movement, because American banks and investors are seeking wealth from oil profits in the Middle East. Some advocates claim Islamic finance is socially responsible because it bans investors from funding companies that sell or promote products such as alcohol, tobacco, pornography, gambling and even pork.
However, Islamic financial institutions also require all industry participants to adhere to tenets of Shariah law. According to Nasser Suleiman's "Corporate Governance in Islamic Banking, "First and foremost, an Islamic organization must serve God. It must develop a distinctive corporate culture, the main purpose of which is to create a collective morality and spirituality which, when combined with the production of goods and services, sustains growth and the advancement of the Islamic way of life."
Three nations that rule 100 percent by Shariah law - Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan - hold some of the most horrific human rights records in the world, Holton said.
"This strongly suggests that Americans should strenuously resist anything associated with Shariah."
Tenets of Shariah
In his essay, "Islamic Finance or Financing Islamism," Alex Alexiev outlined the following tenets of Shariah taken from "The Reliance of the Traveler: The Classic Manual of Sacred Law":
- A woman is eligible for only half of the inheritance of a man
- A virgin may be married against her will by her father or grandfather
- A woman may not leave the house without her husband's permission
- A Muslim man may marry four women, including Christians and Jews; a Muslim woman can only marry a Muslim
- Beating an insubordinate wife is permissible
- Female sexual mutilation is obligatory
- Adultery [or the perception of adultery] is punished by death by stoning
- Offensive, military jihad against non-Muslims is a religious obligation
- Apostasy from Islam is punishable by death without trial
- Lying to infidels in time of jihad is permissible
Alexiev writes that many Islamic financial institutions claim Shariah-Compliant Finance "derives its Islamic character from the strict observance of the ostensible Quranic prohibition of lending at interest, the imperative of almsgiving (zakat), avoidance of excessive uncertainty (gharar) and certain practices and products considered unlawful (haram) to Muslims …" However, he said, "[E]ven a casual examination of the reality of Islamic finance today reveals it to be a bogus concept practiced by deceptive ploys and disingenuous means by practitioners that are or should be aware of that, but remain predictably silent."
Shariah finance institutions that have funded militant Islamism for more than 30 years. Alexiev cites Islamic Development Bank's hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions to Hamas in support of suicide bombing. Bank Al-Taqwa and other banks and charities run by Saudi billionaires have funded al-Qaida activities.
Additionally, Shariah law mandates that Muslims donate 2.5 percent of their annual incomes to charities - including jihadists. When 400 banks regularly contribute to such charities, potential financial sums can be virtually limitless.
If Western banks endorse Shariah, they will "end up becoming what Lenin called useful idiots or worse to the Islamists," Alexiev writes. "And it is a very thin line between that and outright complicity in the Islamist agenda."