By Pete Winn
CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
April 21, 2008
CSP President Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan administration assistant secretary of defense, has launched a national campaign to counter what he calls “an insidious threat” — shari’a-compliant finance.
He says U.S. financial institutions and businesses engaged in shari’a-compliant financing are exposing themselves to civil and criminal liability. That type of investment poses a serious risk not only for U.S. financial institutions but also for ordinary investors and the national security of the United States, he said.
The finance method involves investments or transactions that have been structured to conform with the 7th century code of Islamic law, which is known as shari’a. Prohibitions include financial transactions involving interest, excessive uncertainty, or assets such as alcohol, tobacco, pork or gambling.
Gaffney said shari’a-compliant financing “legitimizes and institutionalizes” repressive Islamic law that conflicts with Western values.
“Shari’a-compliant finance, also known as ‘Islamic finance’ or ‘Islamic banking,’ is a vehicle for effecting in America and in other Western capital markets, what its proponents have called ‘financial jihad’ — a kind of soft jihad, but one arguably going after the lifeblood of our capitalist system and economy,” Gaffney told a briefing of Capitol Hill staffers Friday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Gaffney said the shari’a code is is best known for beheadings, floggings, and amputations for petty crimes.
“Shari’a is a totalitarian program for bringing about a global caliphate (Islamic kingdom), for ruling the world, for governing religious conduct, personal practices and family relations,” he said.
Shari’a-compliant financing is becoming more popular as a way to tap into petrodollars. Even Dow Jones has created its own Islamic Index for shari’a-correct investments, Gaffney said.
How does it work?
Gaffney said that shari’a-compliant instruments are now being offered for everything from zero-coupon bonds to hedge funds to mutual funds to life insurance.
To offer these products or investments as shari’a-compliant, financial companies must submit to “shari’a advisers”– almost all of whom are Islamist ideologues. Many of the advisers are dedicated to the destruction of the United States, Gaffney said.
These advisors “bless” the products or investments, certifying that they have been modified in such a way as to involve no interest payments, no speculation and no investments in proscribed items such as pork or alcohol or tobacco.
“It puts (Islamist ideologues) in a position whereby they can steer very substantial capital and credit flows to activities they favor – and away from activities they don’t favor,” Gaffney said.
The boards frequently are made up of shari’a “advisers” who are either Islamists or have ties to Islamist organizations such as Hamas or Hizballah, Gaffney said.
“As a result, you may wind up hiring people like a fellow named Sheikh Usmani, who has published works explicitly calling for violent jihad against America,” he said.
Usmani reportedly has links to Harvard University, and Gaffney is calling on Harvard’s board of trustees to disclose its ties to shari’a-compliant funds this weekend (April 17-19), during the university’s eighth annual forum on Islamic finance.
Harvard itself, Gaffney said, is “bending over backwards” to accommodate shari’a law to attract Islamic investment.
“(There are) separate hours for Muslim women to exercise at Harvard University so that they can dress immodestly without being immodest, (and) there are calls to prayer, for that matter, being issued on the Quad at Harvard,” he added.
Gaffney noted that those who speak against shari’a in the Muslim world face possible death sentences. He cited psychiatrist Dr. Wafa Sultan, a Muslim woman forced into hiding in America for being “a courageous opponent of shari’a law and Islamist extremism.”
Sultan garnered death threats from Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi, the head of the European Council on Fatwa and Research, and one of the driving forces behind shari’a-compliant finance.
America, Gaffney warned, must either proactively address the issue of shari’a law now, or face it later when it has ensnared the financial markets.
“Later we will find ourselves dead or enslaved,” he concluded. “And we enable them, and we empower them and we underwrite them at our extreme peril.”