|The implications of sharia finance in the UK|
|Written by Melanie Phillips
|The huge spread of sharia finance should cause us the greatest possible concern. It is seen as relatively untroublesome way of reaching out to Muslims while making some people a very great deal of money. So everyone is happy? This couldn’t be further from truth. It fails to understand that this country doesn’t just face Islamic terrorism but an attempt to colonise Britain for Islam through the spread of sharia and the most extreme interpretation of Islam.The first and most important thing to note is that the whole issue of sharia finance is based on a fabrication. Contrary to what we are told, sharia does not proscribe interest. It proscribes usury. We can see this is so because Islamic countries have used and still use interest. The Ottoman Empire used interest; so did religious organisations with in that empire. Interest is permitted even in Saudi Arabia. In 1981 Sheikh Tantawi, the prominent Islamic legal authority at al Azhar university Cairo issued a fatwa justifying the charging of interest. What has to be understood is that sharia finance is based on a fabrication because it is simply a jihadi strategy to help Islamise Britain’s institutions and society.
The idea of sharia finance is a relatively contemporary innovation invented by Islamists bent on jihad against the non-Islamic world. It was not until the mid-20th century that ideologues like Abul ala Mawdudi and Sayyid Qutb advocated sharia finance as element of a separate, self-sustained Islamic order with its own Islamic ideology, Islamic politics and Islamic economics that taken together would guarantee an Islamic way of life and ultimately the Islamic state as the first step toward establishing Muslim rule worldwide.
The actual driving forces behind the establishment of Islamic banking in the 1970s were the huge windfall profits that accrued to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf oil following the 1973 oil embargo and the dramatic spike in oil prices that followed it. Suddenly endowed with unprecedented amounts of money, Saudi Arabia dramatically accelerated its drive to promote itself as the leading country of Islam and export its radical Wahhabi creed worldwide by using its new financial clout. Indeed the Muslim Brotherhood ‘Project’ document, which was discovered by police in Switzerland in 2000, mandates the creation of ‘special Islamic economic, social and other institutions’ to fund the spreading of fundamentalist Islam.
Sharia finance is a beachhead in the attempt to colonise British society for Islam. Acceptance of sharia finance furthers the Islamist objective of gradually legitimising sharia more generally in the west. The point of sharia banking, which is being missed by all those who can only see the prospect of making a lot of money from it, is that all who use it must conform to the dictates of sharia. Sharia financial institutions may not be making this clear now – they don’t want to frighten people away – but at some point that IOU of sharia-compliance will be called in. This is how they will spread sharia to both the Muslim and non-Muslim population. Any Western institution that endorses sharia-compliant products therefore endorses the Islamist ideology behind it, whether they know it or not.
The most important point to grasp is that Islam recognises no authority superior to sharia. Sharia banks will therefore not recognise the superior authority of the law of the land. When trillions of pounds and dollars are locked into them, who will argue with them?
There are already examples of sharia regulations overriding commercial decisions. Citibank, for example, launched the Saudi American Bank (SAB) in Jeddah and its Riyadh branch in 1955 and 1966 respectively, apparently without considering business risks under sharia. The Saudis abruptly seized SAB in 1980, denied Citibank all future profits, and ordered the bank to train Saudi staffers because the bank was judged insufficiently Muslim.
Shari’a laws grant the Islamic ummah supremacy over all others — along with all land and property, to hold in trust for Allah. Under sharia, land or property conquered or acquired by Muslims cannot generally revert to its original owners. Under sharia, confiscating the property of unbelievers is considered justifiable.
Even more troubling is the cover provided by sharia finance for the financing of terrorism. Sharia requires Muslims to tithe a percentage of their money to charity (Zakat). But charity in Islam is more like solidarity and only weakly differentiated therefore from militancy or jihad. Some money donated to Islamic charities thus finds it way to organisations promoting jihad and supporting suicide bombing including Hamas, Hezbollah, the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and Islamist madrassas in places like Pakistan.
Next, the people making the decisions about where this money is sent are themselves jihadis or terrorism supporters. Only certain Islamic authorities are entitled to issue the religious rulings or fatwas that can recognize investments as Sharia-compliant. These include the Fiqh Academy in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, which is associated with the Saudi-dominated Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC); the European Council for Fatwa Research, and the Fatwa Council of North America. All of these entities are associated with the radical Wahabi and Salafi schools of Islam adhered to by groups such as al Qaeda and Hamas.
These people funnel the zakat money into terrorist organisations. Radical cleric and jihad ideologue Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi is recognized as an expert in Shari’a-compliant investments. So is Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani, a radical Pakistani cleric who ran a madrassa that trained thousands of Taliban, sits on the Shariah supervisory board of the Dow Jones Islamic Index Fund, which is run by the North American Islamic Trust—a Saudi-tied alleged front for the Muslim Brotherhood. The US Justice Department last year named the Islamic Trust an unindicted co-conspirator in a major terror-financing case.
Similarly, the groups that these organizations spawned for the express purpose of overseeing sharia-compliant investments and the people authorized and recognized as Islamic authorities capable of declaring an investment sharia-compliant are identified with political Islam and, in several cases with terror financing and support.
Members of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions include the central banks of designated terrorist states Iran and Sudan—and the Saudi Dallah al Baraka Group, al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation, Kuwait Finance House — all implicated in funding al Qaeda, according to former U.S. counter-terror official Richard Clarke in testimony before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the U.S. And the Islamic Financial Services Board members include the central banks of Iran, Sudan, Syria, and the terror-funding Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA).
In Britain and elsewhere, the sharia advisory boards in British banks contain several individuals with links to jihadi and terrorist organisations.
In addition, the absence of transparency inherent in Islamic banking systems makes such money laundering difficult to track.
In conclusion, few financial institutions seem prepared to engage in even the most superficial due diligence about the implications of Shariah finance. The spread of sharia finance in Britain and the west is therefore the height of reckless corporate irresponsibility.