June 23 Press Release from the Center for Security Policy on the Perils of Shariah-Compliant Finance…

Washington, DC (June 23, 2008) – In recent letters to America’s largest banks and hedge funds, Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney, Jr. has warned financial executives about the potential regulatory, legal and national security pitfalls of “Shariah-Compliant Finance” (SCF). These include civil and criminal exposure, as well as serious reputational risk for those engaged in SCF transactions.

The letter (an example of which is attached, as is the list of recipients) was prompted by the recent emergence in Western capital markets of Shariah-Compliant Finance (also marketed as “Islamic finance”) and by a lawsuit now before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. The litigation was brought by a consortium of insurance firms, including Chubb, Ace and Allstate, and by the investment firm of Cantor Fitzgerald and accuses the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dubai Islamic Bank and others of funding terrorism in the name of Shariah and jihad (holy war).

The Center for Security Policy’s warning was made even more timely and urgent by the revelation on June 16 that a senior Mideast executive at U.S. investment bank J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is being detained in Dubai as part of a widening fraud investigation of the Dubai Islamic Bank. The Chase executive, Omair Mooraj, is managing director and head of Islamic banking for the entire region.

Mr. Gaffney warned each of the addressee firms that they may be exposed to reputational risk and price risk if they are invested in or have prime broker relationships with banks engaged in Shariah-Compliant Finance. Such risks became evident in the Philadelphia lawsuit as several of the key defendants are “Shariah-compliant” banks and virtually all are “Shariah-compliant” businesses.

Mr. Gaffney observed that SCF is a device used to legitimize Shariah Law, a brutally oppressive theocratic-political-military doctrine. The Taliban imposed Shariah Law in Afghanistan. Today, it is the law of the land in Iran, Sudan and Saudi Arabia, three of the most repressive regimes in the world, all of which have extensive ties to jihadist terrorism. According to its adherents, Shariah Law requires companies engaged in SCF to donate to Islamic charities using zakat (tithing for charitable purposes) and the “purification” of proceeds of investments that Shariah advisors deem to be “impure.” There are eight categories of Shariah-approved charities, of which half can be interpreted to mean vehicles for funding violent jihad.

The Philadelphia lawsuit alleges that Dubai Islamic Bank and other named Islamic Shariah banks have funneled zakat and “purified” funds to Islamic charities, which then funded al-Qaeda terror. There is growing concern on the part of the SEC, Treasury and Justice Departments and the Congress about the lack of transparency in the Shariah-Compliant Finance market and its implications for compliance with existing securities laws.

Mr. Gaffney provided each bank and fund with a legal memorandum entitled Civil Liability and Criminal Exposure for U.S. Financial Institutions and Businesses engaged in Shariah-Compliant Finance.
(http://www.stopshariahnow.citymax.com/f/Research_Memo_re_Legal_Risks_of_SCF_(3).pdf. It concludes that any U.S. financial institution promoting Shariah-Compliant Finance here or abroad is at risk of violating federal and state securities laws that require due diligence, transparency and disclosure, RICO statutes and other laws that prohibit funding of terror.
The Center’s letters strongly recommended that each firm examine their portfolios for exposure to Dubai Islamic Bank and other named defendants in the Philadelphia lawsuit. Additionally, he warned that their prime brokers may be involved in Shariah-Compliant Finance and urged their brokers to ask if they are disclosing: material facts about Shariah Law; its mandate for jihad; public verbal and written statements calling for jihad made by their paid Shariah advisors; methods of purification of funds; and the beneficiaries of such funds and zakat.

Mr. Gaffney cautioned each firm about broader questions over the United Arab Emirates’ ties to Islamist extremism, terrorism and smuggling prohibited goods into Iran:

“Directors and officers of financial institutions often profess no knowledge about Shariah. They typically claim to have no responsibility or accountability for their actions that explicitly or tacitly support SCF. On receipt of the legal memorandum, however, they can no longer maintain a willful blindness and ignore their responsibility to disclose the violent theopolitical goals and methods of Shariah.

“Specifically, the addressees can no longer claim that they know nothing about Shariah advisors, and therefore have no responsibility or accountability to disclose the statements by those advisors supporting violent jihad, terrorist organizations, warfare against all non-Muslim states and discrimination against, and, in many cases execution of non-Muslims of all faiths, ex-Muslims (apostates), homosexuals, anyone supporting separation of church and state, etc.”

For more information about the Center’s efforts to counter Shariah-Compliant Finance and related work on the dangers posed by the seditious agenda it is advancing, please visit www.StopShariahNow.org. The Center for Security Policy (www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org) is a non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security and then ensures that such issues are the subject of both focused, principled examination and effective action by recognized policy experts, appropriate officials, opinion leaders, and the general public.

EXAMPLE OF LETTER SENT BY CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY

10 June 2008
James Dimon
Chief Executive Officer
JP Morgan Chase
20 Park Avenue
New York, NY 100

Dear Mr. Dimon:

Your firm may be exposed to reputational risk and/or price risk if you are engaged in Shariah-Compliant Finance, or invested in firms that are. Such risks are evident in a lawsuit filed by a consortium of insurance firms, including Chubb, Ace and Allstate, and by the investment firm of Cantor Fitzgerald, accusing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dubai Islamic Bank and others of funding the September 11th terror attacks in which nearly 3000 Americans were murdered. (See: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/hot_topics/19374964.html.)

At its heart, this lawsuit is about Shariah-Compliant Finance (SCF, also known as Islamic Finance). SCF is a device used to legitimize Shariah Law, a brutally oppressive theocratic-political-military doctrine. The Taliban imposed Shariah Law in Afghanistan. Today, it is the law of the land in Iran, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia and Shariah controlled regions around the world.

According to Shariah Law, companies engaged in SCF must donate to Islamic charities via zakat (tithing for charitable purposes) and the “purification” of proceeds of investments that Shariah advisors deem to be “impure.” There are eight categories of Shariah-approved charities, of which half can be interpreted to mean vehicles for funding violent jihad (holy war).

In the lawsuit currently before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, Dubai Islamic Bank and other named Islamic Shariah banks are accused of funneling zakat and “purified” funds to Islamic charities, which then funded Al-Qaeda terror. There is growing concern on the part of the SEC, Treasury and Justice Departments and the Congress about the lack of transparency in the Shariah-Compliant Finance market and the lack of enforcement of existing securities laws.

We have provided these policymakers – and are now providing you – with a legal memorandum entitled Civil Liability and Criminal Exposure for U.S. Financial Institutions and Businesses engaged in Shariah-Compliant Finance. It concludes that any U.S. financial institution promoting Shariah-Compliant Finance here or abroad is at risk of violating federal and state securities laws that require due diligence, transparency and disclosure, RICO statutes,and other laws that prohibit funding of terror. Providers of Islamic indices and rating agencies may also be at such risk.

To minimize your firm’s reputational and price risk, we strongly recommend that you examine your portfolios for exposure to Dubai Islamic Bank and other named defendants. The extent to which your prime brokers may be involved in Shariah-Compliant Finance should also be reviewed with care. We urge you to contact them and ask if they are disclosing: material facts about Shariah Law; its mandate for jihad; public verbal and written statements calling for jihad made by their paid Shariah advisors; methods of purification of funds and; the beneficiaries of such funds and zakat.
Connections between the UAE and terrorist organizations and their sponsors are in need of greater transparency. Examples include:

1) The UAE was one of only three countries worldwide to recognize the Shariah Taliban regime.
2) The UAE has been a key transfer point for illegal shipments of nuclear components to Iran, North Korea and Libya.
3) In 2007, the UAE was the foremost exporter of goods to Iran.
4) Iranian intelligence and military operatives work freely in and from Dubai.
5) In 2007, Dubai collected $13.5 billion in zakat taxes from oil-producing companies and branches of foreign banks in the form of a “tax” on banks and companies doing business in the UAE. Accounting for these funds is opaque.
We would be happy to provide you or your legal counsel a briefing on the results of our research into these subjects.

Sincerely,

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
President and CEO
Enclosure

LIST OF HEDGE FUND AND BANK RECIPIENTS

HEDGE FUNDS

  • Scott M. Amero,Chief Investment Officer – Fixed Income,BlackRock, Inc.
  • Dwight Anderson,Co-Founder and Principal,Ospraie Management LLC
  • Cliff Asness,Chief Executive Officer,AQR Capital
  • Paul Terrence Batemen,Chief Executive Officer,JP Morgan Asset Management
  • Ottavio Francis Biondi,Founder,King Street Capital
  • Lloyd Blankfein,Chief Executive Officer,Goldman Sachs Global
  • Kevin Cannon,Chief Executive Officer,Zweig-DiMenna International Managers
  • Steve Cohen,Chief Executive Officer,S.A.C. Capital Advisors, LLC
  • William Crowley,President and Chief Operating Officer,ESL Investments
  • Anthony da Costa,Chief Executive Officer,KBC Multi-Strategy Arbitrage
  • Stephen Daffron,Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director,Renaissance Technologies LLC
  • Raymond Thomas Dalio,Chief Investment Officer and President,Bridgewater Associates
  • Max Darnell,Chief Information Officer,First Quadrant Tactical Currency
  • Robert E. Diamond, Jr.,Chief Executive Officer,Barclays Capital
  • Joseph A. DiMenna,Managing Director,Zweig-DiMenna International
    Managers
  • Mr. Robert C. Doll,Chief Investment Officer – Equities, BlackRock, Inc.
  • Steve Feinberg,Chief Executive Officer,Cerberus Capital Management
  • Lawrence D. Fink,Chairman and Chief Executive,BlackRock, Inc.
  • Joshua S. Friedman, Managing Partner, Canyon Value Realization
  • Blake Grossman, Chief Executive Officer,Barclays Global Investors
  • Edward Kelly,Chief Executive Officer, Sagamore Hill Capital Management
  • Mark E. Kingdon,Founder, President,M. Kingdon Offshore
  • Seth Klarman, Chief Executive Officer,BAUpost
  • Robert Kleinschmidt,President, Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officer,Tocqueville Asset Management
  • Edward Lampert, Chief Executive Officer, ESL Investments
  • Robert Lourie, Head of Futures Research,Renaissance Technologies LLC
  • George Lucas, Principal,Lucas Capital Management
  • Russell J. Lucas, Principal, Lucas Capital Management
  • Michael Mackey, Principal, Kingdon Capital Management
  • Howard Marks, Chairman, Oaktree Capital Management L.P.
  • Robert Matza, President, Goldentree Asset Management
  • Ravinder Mehra, Chief Information Officer,Vega Relative Value
  • Jason Mraz, Co-Founder, Principal and Head of Trading, Ospraie Management LLC
  • Daniel Saul Och, President, Och-Ziff Capital Management
  • Robert L. Padgette, Managing Director and Founder, K4
  • Clifford Press, Principal, Oliver Press Partners, LLC
  • Quintin Price, Chief Investment Officer – International Equities, BlackRock, Inc.
  • Allan Reed, Chief Executive Officer, Goldman Sachs Asset Management
  • Bruce Richards, Chief Executive Officer, Marathon Asset Management, LLC
  • David Sachs, Chief Executive Officer, Hockey Capital
  • David Elliot Shaw,Chief Executive Officer,D.E. Shaw Group
  • Francois Sicart, Chairman and Founder, Tocqueville Asset Management
  • Nathaniel Simmons, Principal, Renaissance Technologies LLC
  • James Harris Simons, Chief Executive Officer, Renaissance Technologies LLC
  • Paul E. Singer, Founder and Principal, Elliot International
  • Thomas Steyer, Senior Manager, Farallon Capital Management
  • Henry Alexander Swieca, Managing Partner, Highbridge Capital
  • Steve Tananbaum, Chief Executive Officer, Goldentree Asset Management
  • John R. Taylor Jr., Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer,FX Concepts
  • K. Robert Turner, Managing Partner, Canyon Value Realization
  • Eric Vincent, President and Chief Operating Officer, Ospraie Management LLC
  • Leon Wagner, Chairman, Goldentree Asset Management
  • Susan L. Wagner, Chief Operating Officer, BlackRock, Inc.
  • Alan Winters, Chief Operating Officer,Kingdon Capital Management

BANKS

  • Josef Ackerman, Chief Executive Officer, Deutsche Bank
  • Christopher Augustin, Chief Investment Officer, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.
  • Paul Terrence Batemen, Chief Executive Officer, JP Morgan Asset Management
  • Lloyd Blankfein, Chief Executive Officer, Goldman Sachs
  • James Dimon, Chief Executive Officer, JP Morgan Chase
  • Phillip Freeburn, Chief Investment Officer,UBS
  • Richard S. Fuld, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Lehman Brothers
  • John Mack, Chief Executive Officer, Morgan Stanley
  • Mr. Jim Nish, JP Morgan Chase
  • Bridget O’Connor, Chief Investment Officer, Lehman Brothers
  • Vikram Pandit, Chief Executive Officer, Citigroup
  • Marcel Rohner, Chief Executive Officer, UBS
  • Jim Rosenthal, Head, Firm Technology and Operations, Morgan Stanley
 

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