Sharia Compliant Finance : Financing Our Own Demise?

Sharia Compliant Finance : Financing Our Own Demise?

by Gadi Adelman, Joy Brighton
March 3, 2010

What is Sharia Compliant Finance (SCF)? This is the question I seem to be hearing all too often. As I had explained in my article “One Nation under Allah,” “Sharia deals with all aspects of day-to-day life, from family issues to sexuality, hygiene, politics, economics, banking, business, contracts and social issues, and more.”

Put simply, Sharia is the law of the land in Iran and Sudan and for groups such as the Taliban, al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah. Allow me to refresh your memory on the “religion of peace.” According to “The Reliance of the Traveler, the classic manual of Islamic sacred law” which is considered the authoritative Sunni Sharia rulebook, the following is a selection of some Sharia laws:

  • Offensive, military Jihad is a religious obligation.
  • Inferior status for all non-Muslims (known as “dhimma”).
  • Capital punishment for slandering Islam.
  • Capital punishment for apostasy (leaving Islam).
  • Women may not leave the house without husbands’ permission; beating disobedient women, polygamy, forced child marriage, and stoning of adulterers are permitted.
  • Slavery is legal.
  • Lying (“taqiyya”) to infidels is permitted.
  • Capital punishment for homosexuals and lesbians.

Just as Sharia is not about religion, but rather politics and power, Sharia banking is not about banking: it is about politics, economics, and power – which explains why Iran was the first and remains the only one of two countries in the world today (Sudan being the second) that mandates 100 percent Sharia banking. When Khomeini deposed the Shah in 1978, secular law and human rights went out and Sharia law, oppression and zealot mullahs came into every aspect of life, including the banking system. Prior to 1978, the entire world including the Middle East practiced traditional, Western banking. Today, Iran remains the market leader in Sharia Finance and the market leader in terror finance and terror in general.

Would AIG, Citigroup, Dow Jones, HSBC, UBS, Visa and Mastercard have become involved with something called Apartheid Finance? Or Nazi Finance? Of course not. So why are they involved with Sharia Finance? Have these firms stopped reading the newspapers? Don’t they know that Sharia-driven Iran is building nuclear weapons and funding the Sharia-driven Taliban who is killing our own young men and women soldiers? Or that our President is putting economic sanctions on Sharia-driven Iran?

Or is it just all about the money? Oil money generates Sharia investment fees and Sharia trading commissions, and sells Sharia insurance policies with fat premiums.

But the danger to our national security is this: the hallmark of Iranian Banking (i.e., Sharia banking) is the hiring of mullahs or sheiks in order to have some control over banking practices and the mandate to send some profits off to “Sharia charities” (a process known as Zakat). Hiring Sharia sheiks gives these groups standing in the banking world and brands “Sharia” as perfectly ethical. Sending money to charity? What could be more ethical, and everyone is concerned about ethics these days.

Wrong. Four of the most sought-after “Sharia authorities” in the industry, listed below, reads like a Who’s Who of Terrorists. They all sit on the board of the AAOIFI (Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions) or the board of IFSB (Islamic Finance Standards Board). And guess who sits on these boards? IFSB members include the central banks of Iran, Sudan, and Syria (all designated state sponsors of terrorism) and the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA), which is widely documented since its inception to be a funder of terrorism.

Sheik Yusuf Al-Qaradawiis on the Board of AAOIFI, the Bank Al-Taqwa (shut down in 2001 by the U.S. Treasury for terror funding) and many other Middle East banks. Qaradawi, has been banned from entering the United States of America since 1999 and the United Kingdom since 2008 because of his ties to terrorism. He created a 57-member network of charities called the “Union of Good,” which is designated as a sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. Government. In July 2003 in Stockholm, at a conference arranged by the Muslim Association of Sweden, he expressed his support for suicide attacks against Israeli civilians which he called a “necessary Jihad.” Perhaps this is why he described Sharia charity dollars as “Jihad with Money” in an interview with the BBC in 2006. During an address to the Journalists Syndicate in Cairo (Associated Press, September 2, 2004) he stated, “Fighting American civilians in Iraq is a duty for all Muslims… Americans in Iraq are all fighters and invaders. There is no difference between a civilian and a military American in Iraq”. Lastly, just to show how ‘charitable’ he really is on July 7, 2004, in an interview with BBC TWO’s Newsnight he said, “Allah Almighty is just; through his infinite wisdom he has given the weak a weapon the strong do not have and that is their ability to turn their bodies into bombs as Palestinians do.”

Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmaniis the Chairman of AAOIFI and is, or has been a paid Sharia Sheik on the Board of HSBC, Dow Jones, Citigroup and Guidance Financial. He is the Founder and Director of Jamia Uloom madrassa, the second largest madrassa in Pakistan, which “boasts close ties to the Taliban” according to International Crisis Human Rights Group. He was the Deobandi Cleric to the Taliban in 2001. According to a comment piece in The Times (UK), September 8, 2007 Usmani “believes that aggressive military jihad should be waged by Muslims ‘to establish the supremacy of Islam’ worldwide.”

Imran Ashraf Usmaniis on the Boards of AAOIFI; AIG, HSBC, Citigroup, Lloyds TSB Bank (UK) and Credit Suisse Bank. Imran is the son of Sheik Taqi Usmani, schooled in the same Jihadist Pakistan madrassa. Banks are replacing Taqi Usmani with his son, Imran, as his father’s Jihadist background is being publicized.

Sheikh Yusef Talal DeLorenzois on the boards of AAOIFI; IFSB, Barclays Capital, Dow Jones, Guidance International, Sharia Capital and Blackrock. He is an American convert to Islam who dropped out of Cornell and was educated at the same Jihadist Darul Uloom madrassa as the Usmani father and son team. He was also an advisor to Pakistan President Zia al-Haq 1981–1984 during the creation of the Taliban. He is the past Director of Education for the Islamic Saudi Academy, which has been condemned for its hate curricula by the Congress-appointed U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom. DeLorenzo was the secretary of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) which The Investigative Project has linked to Islamist extremism and terrorism. It was Sheikh DeLorenzo who said using the word “ethical” was a better description than “Sharia” for Western bankers to understand.

So what do these sheiks actually do? One of their jobs is to ensure that somehow money from Sharia investments gets sent off to charity. The problem is that their definition of charity and the definition of charity according to most Americans are polar opposites.

In Webster’s, charity is defined as “generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless.” Conversely, on the HSBC Amanah Website in its list of Sharia “charity” is “fi sabilillah.” This is defined in the Reliance of the Traveler, the Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law (Umdat Al-Salik), p. 272, as follows:

“those fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged In Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army, or volunteers for Jihad without remuneration. They are given enough to suffice them for the operation, even if affluent: of weapons, mounts, clothing, and expenses.”

Further, the distribution of Zakat through Sharia or Iranian investments is not left to the choice of the investor, regardless if they are Muslim or non-Muslim. Instead the process of giving to charity is directly imbedded in the structure of the Sharia bond or mutual fund. The investor has no choice. And deciding which charity receives the funding is left to the sole discretion of the hired Sharia Sheiks of the bank (or Mullahs in Iran).

Wait a minute. Let me understand this, charitable payments go to the army? For people who are fighting for Allah? For Jihad? Is that really true? You’re damned right! According to Sharia Islamic law, money for charity will be given to fight for Allah. And as previously demonstrated time and again, Muslim jihadist-terror organizations are indeed prominent Zakat recipients. In fact, the U.S. Government has classified 27 Islamic charities as terror organizations; most recently, the Holy Land Foundation in Dallas, Texas, was convicted of financing terrorism in 2008 and had been charged with funneling $12 million dollars to Hamas.

How much revenue might be generated by the tiny but growing strong Sharia Finance market today? The Oasis Fleming Sharia fund of the UK reported in 2007 that it made $34.9 million in profits and distributed $3.3 million of this to Sharia charities. That’s a phenomenal 9.42% income to Islamic “zakat” or charity, and it is discretely named as “non-permissible income” on its income statement. There is approximately $1 trillion of Sharia assets managed all over the world today (with 30 percent of it managed by Iranian banks). Assuming a return of 10 percent on these investments, that translates to $9.42 billion going to Sharia charities in 2010. Some might go to feed the needy, some to mosques, and some to CAIR. Oh, and yes, some to groups such as al Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.

Sharia finance is expected to grow 12 – 15 percent annually… so year in and year out, more and more dollars will go to fund the political movement of Sharia as lived by the Government of Iran, the Taliban and others. In fact, the Cozen O’Connor Law Firm brought a suit in 2003 (now in the Supreme Court), on behalf of nearly three dozen insurers including Chubb, Ace and Allstate alleging that the funding for the 9/11 attacks in which nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered came directly from Islamic charities which acquired their Zakat donations in part thru Islamic banks. Many Islamic banks are named in this suit, including the Dubai Islamic Bank.

Funny how our government seems to be talking about sanctioning Iran while, at the same time, stopping the Taliban (with the blood of our own young people). The SEC is urging stricter regulations to avoid another sub-prime disaster. The U.S. Treasury and 32 central banks are considering stopping business with the shady Iranianbanking system which doesn’t comply with global banking standards of transparency and money-laundering. Yet Sharia Finance, the financial system of Iran, is rolling full speed ahead right into neighborhoodbranches of AIG, Citi, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Prudential and UBS.

As I have said and written many times before; enough is enough, open your eyes, get involved, tell your friends, family and colleagues and your Congressmen and Senators too. Sound the alarm!

The problem of Sharia compliant finance, just like Sharia itself, will not just go away. Unless we demand that our representatives and the companies mentioned above do something to stop Sharia Compliant Financing, it will only get worse.

Consider this next time you do business with one of these companies: what is your money being used to do?

Courtesy: Family Security Matters

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Multiculturalism and Islam: Sharia vs European constitutions

Multiculturalism and Islam: Sharia vs European constitutions
by Samir Khalil Samir, sj
Problems in Holland and Denmark. Great Britain as an example: decades of multiculturalism that have lead to ghettos, closure, radicalism of Islamic communities. Women ever penalized. Being European citizens involves having the duty to integrate. Third in a series of articles.

 Beirut (AsiaNews) – Multiculturalist ideology, i.e. the blind tolerance of any culture or tradition, is destroying Europe and standing in the way of any positive development of Islam.  Such ideology has been condemned by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali intellectual and parliamentarian who, having received death threats from Muslims for her defence of women’s rights and tired of European multiculturalism, left Holland to go work in the United States at the American Enterprise Institute.  She accused Holland of excessive acquiescence, of encouraging the immobility of Muslim communities and even of letting itself be conquered by Islam and Islamic law.

In making room for Sharia, there is the risk of conflict with European constitutions.  An interesting thing is taking place in Denmark, a country which is at the forefront of multi-culturality. The SIAD Party has recently been founded and it proposes the following: anyone who cites Koranic verses contrary to the Danish constitution must be punished because the constitution is superior to all other laws.

And they quote articles 67-69 of the Danish Constitution which says, “We authorize freedom of worship, as long as it is exercised within the framework of Danish laws without disturbing public order.”

All this is a clear signal that people are beginning to reflect on the possible contrast that exists between the constitutions of European countries and certain laws of the Koran.  In Demark too, there exist two trends: the “left”, or the “do-gooders”, who want to respect the culture of others, saying that ours is not an absolute, or suggest that we must be tolerant and give Muslims time to take this step; and those who make no allowances, and who say that if a person is not able to integrate, he is better off going elsewhere.

But the most significant and problematic case is that of Great Britain: here, after decades of multiculturalism, instead of integrating and coexisting, Islamic communities are increasingly closing themselves into ghettos, and fundamentalistic behaviours, dangerous for all society, are emerging.

State schools and Islamic morals

The most representative association of British Muslims, the Muslim Council of Great Britain, has asked that Muslims be recognized the right to apply Islamic morals in state schools.  On February 21, it published a 72-page document and presented it to the government in the name of 400,000 Muslim students attending the country’s state schools.  They ask that the government accept the demands of Muslim parents and youngster on the grounds of faith concerns.

Taking their cue from their concept of modesty, they say that female students:

a) have the right to wear headscarves or the hijab (there is no mention however of the niqab);

b) have the right to not take part in physical education lessons, because Islam prohibits contact between the sexes in public and because there is the risk of girls exposing bare skin, which is prohibited by Sharia.

They also demand separate classes for girls and boys; the refusal of dancing and of sex education (which is a family matter and not a topic for school); drawings and anatomy textbooks must not show genital organs.  As for faith and history, they ask for a revision of the entire teaching system in the name of Islamic morals.

 The Education Ministry has not yet replied officially, but has already said that these requests will be a step backwards in terms of the tolerance that already existed.

British and Muslim

The tendency towards closure – the fruit of multiculturalism! – is apparent also at another level.  Last February 19, a public survey in the Sunday Telegraph shows that 40% of British Muslims are favourable to the introduction of sharia.  This demonstrates the radicalization of a substantial part of the country’s Islamic community.  Forty percent feels foreign to British society and deems that it is necessary and normal to lead a lifestyle in line with the most radical of Islamic ethics.

Another element which is emerging is the detachment of these people from British society.  Asked “How do you feel about the victims of conflicts in the world?”, the reply was “compassion”, “solidarity” and even “anger” with reference to conflicts involving Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.  Simply put, they feel closer to Muslims than to Great Britain, which is directly involved in some of these conflicts.

From the sociological point of view, it should be said that they come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India and belong to traditional families, but it is also worth noting that they have been in Great Britain for at least two generations.  It seems clear to me that the reactions to 9/11, instead of creating more global solidarity around the idea of the fight against terrorism, have instead radicalized Muslims who are siding with each other to defend their brothers in faith.

September 11 created or reinforced, in the entire Islamic world, an identity crisis: Islam and Muslims are under scrutiny.  Faced with this situation, there are those who stop to reflect on what must be reviewed in Islamic teaching behaviour, and there are those whose reaction is closure and aggressiveness so as to affirm more forcefully the radical diversity of Islam vis-à-vis the surrounding culture.  This second kind of behaviour is typical of many young people of second or third generation, who fully recognize themselves neither in Islamic nor in Western tradition (despite having perfectly assimilated the latter).

In any case, this study and the requests regarding schools show that Muslims in Great Britain are increasingly identifying themselves with their religion, more than with local society and culture.

Modesty for males and citizenship

The problems raised by Muslims, for example those in Great Britain, are real.  There does exist a problem of ethics in society, and thus also in the school system.  An exaggerated liberalism which allows young people everything, especially at the sexual level, on the grounds that they must learn to make their own choices, is certainly unacceptable to both the Muslim and Christian communities, as well as to the human community tout court.  But preventing contact between boys and girls, or preventing the teaching of all things related to sexuality is an entirely different matter.  Here, it is not a question of ethics, but of customs and traditions, and this is no longer acceptable.  In any given country, the norms of that country must be observed, not those of the homelands of a few parents!

Furthermore, one might ask oneself why, on the question of the relationship between sexes, it is always the woman who must be hidden or “observe modesty”, as is still said.  If modesty is a virtue – and in fact it is – it applies to males as it does to females.  And since modesty seems to be more spontaneous in females, it would seem more necessary to impose it upon males!  In other terms, despite the best intentions, Muslims tend to confuse customs with ethics.  Customs are tied to determined groups (ethnic, geographic, religious…) and do not apply to the national civil society.  Ethics dictate principles which are valid for every human person, independent of their sex or religion, and therefore are worth defending and fighting to defend.  It is time that we learn to defend ethics that are respectful of the human person, by starting to teach and practice them in schools, to everyone.  As for special treatment for a particular group, in the name of their different culture, this is a deformation of what should be “authentic multiculturalism,” which learns to evaluate different cultures and improve one’s own on the basis of comparison.

The question behind this problem is: what does citizenship mean?  Is it a piece of paper, useful to acquire so as to have advantages and few obligations?  Or is it a profound reality, the result of a pondered choice, which can also demand even big cultural sacrifice?

And more: what is the identity of an Italian citizen of Egyptian or Moroccan or Chinese or Albanian origin?  If it is Egyptian, Moroccan, Chinese, Albanian, then I ask: what is the sense of having requested and obtained Italian citizenship?  It is not perhaps to enjoy the advantages that a country offers and then return to live in one’s country of birth or that of one’s parents?  In that case, I am just an exploiter.  But if it means a conscious choice, which implies changes in behaviour, the desire to build with other citizens a more just society etc, then, yes, I deserve citizenship.  I think that society must help each person to make such pondered choices, helping and facilitating efforts to integrate.