|What Is Sharia Finance? Don't Ask the Treasury
Posted 11/12/2008 ET
As news reports trickle in indicating that the overwhelming majority of American Muslims voted for Barack Obama, the Wahhabi/Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Muslim establishment can barely conceal its glee at the prospect of the Obama presidency opening vast new opportunities for radical Islam in America. Whether such hopes are realistic or not remains to be seen. But, in the meantime, the outgoing administration with little fanfare and less notice has obligingly opened yet another avenue for the Islamists to pursue their ultimate objective of imposing barbaric sharia law in America.
The event in question was a Treasury Department seminar held last week entitled “Islamic Finance 101.” The advertised purpose of the closed meeting was to provide Treasury regulators with objective information on Islamic Finance, a rapidly growing sector also known as Sharia-Compliant Finance (SCF). In reality, the seminar was little more than a government-sponsored promotion of the subversive Islamist agenda carried out under the Sharia Finance guise.
It couldn’t be any other way, given that not a single critic of SCF was invited and most of the "experts” present turned out to be Shariah finance promoters and practitioners with vested financial interests in the scheme and/or Islamist backgrounds or both.
The participants heard from Talal DeLorenzo, an American convert and product of a jihadist madrassa in Pakistan who has played a leading role in half a dozen U.S. Muslim extremist organizations, apart from being a kingpin among international “sharia advisors.” Then there was Rushdi Siddiqi, the founder of the Dow Jones Islamic Index Fund (IMANX), where he for years supervised the Sharia advisory board, including its chairman, Mufti Taqi Usmani, a jihadist fanatic who openly preaches violence against non-Muslims and advocates suicide bombing.
Also speaking was American Islamic banker David Loudon of Chicago’s Devon Bank, whose close associate, sharia confidant and fellow banker Salman Ibrahim, just disappeared with up to $80 million stolen from Sunrise Equities, the Islamic financial house he headed. Last but not least, there was the estimable Harvard professor Samuel Hayes, a long-time fixture at Harvard’s Wahhabi-funded Islamic Finance Project, aka, King Fahd Chair of Sharia Studies. A key player at the yearly sharia finance propaganda forums at Harvard, Professor Hayes advises Arcapita Inc., an Islamic investment fund, in his spare time, perhaps providing scholarly input to the company’s recent order to a Church’s Chicken franchise owner to stop selling pork.
Not surprisingly, the picture of Sharia finance that emerged from the presentations of these worthies was that of a God-ordained, socially-conscious, morally superior and more profitable financial system that’s ready to replace its failed capitalist counterpart. And, as if to make this picture even more idyllic and persuasive, the seminar was introduced by none other than the administrator of the $700 billion in government handouts to our currently nationalized banking system, Neel Kashkari.
What’s particularly disturbing about this picture is not only that it is completely bogus, but that Treasury, of all U.S. government institutions, ought to know that and not allow such Islamist propaganda to take place on its premises.
So what exactly is sharia finance? To begin with, it is a concept that had not been heard of, let alone practiced in Muslim history, until invented by the venerated Islamist ideologue, Abul Ala Mawdudi ,more than half a century ago. It was designed to promote sharia and radical Islamism as a “complete Muslim way of life” and had little to do with economics and finance, about which Mawdudi knew nothing. And it didn’t receive a practical expression until the 1970s when the first SCF banks were founded. In practical terms, SCF uses a variety of legal fictions, ruses and deceptions to conceal the fact that what it’s doing is conventional finance in bogus Islamic garb.
Since then, sharia finance has been closely linked with the rise of radical Islam in pursuing two related objectives: legitimization of sharia barbarism in the Muslim world and the West and financing extremism and terrorism. It is essential to understand here that sharia law is an immutable and indivisible doctrine that regulates each and every aspect of a Muslim’s life and, unless you believe in all of it, you are an apostate and subject to death.
Thus, if you believe in sharia finance, as a Muslim, you must also believe that it is your religious obligation to establish sharia worldwide by violent jihad, kill apostates, adulterers and homosexuals and discriminate against infidels and women among other sharia mandates. And, in that scheme of things, sharia finance is nothing less than “jihad with money” as the prominent terrorism advocate, Yousuf al-Qaradawi, has put it. The fact that much of Wall Street sees only the fat transaction fees part of it does not make it any less so.
And even a casual look at the record of sharia banking proves that beyond doubt. Three of the early Sharia institutions, Bank Al-Taqwa, Akida Bank and BMI (Bait ul-Mal al-Islami) were not only involved in financing terrorism full time but were specifically set up for that purpose. The Treasury Department knows that very well because they were the ones that closed them down as terrorist entities.
The largest Islamic bank, the Saudi-controlled Islamic Development Bank (IDB), was no slouch either in this respect with the $1 billion Al-Aqsa and Intifada funds set up specifically for financing suicide bombers in Palestine. The same is also true of the three largest Islamic banking empires run by the Saudi billionaires and zealous Wahabbis, Saleh Kamel, Prince Faysal al-Saud and Suleiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi , which have been suspected of terror financing for years but have always been able to get away because of America’s obscene deference for the Saudis.
Not even included in this troubling record are the huge amounts generated by Islamic banks through the obligatory zakat tithe, ‘purification’ of ‘unclean’ income that must be given away or the huge sums paid to extremist sharia advisors. Worst of all, much of this huge financial windfall for Islamic extremism is now generated by Sharia finance in the West, making us a key sponsor of those that want to destroy us.
All of this is or should be well known at Treasury. The fact that none of it was even alluded to in a USG-sponsored seminar purporting to provide regulators with reliable information on Islamic finance is more than unconscionable: it is dereliction of duty.
|Mr. Alexiev is Vice President for Research for the Center for Security Policy. During nearly 20 years as a senior analyst with the national security division of the Rand Corporation, Mr. Alexiev directed numerous research projects for the Department of Defense and other agencies. He is the author of several books and myriad monographs and articles on national security issues. His present research focuses on issues related to Islamic extremism and terrorism. |