Many thanks to the intrepid Janet Levy for this translation of an article from a German blog dated 18 March…
The Kraken [ed. a type of giant squid – making reference to the tentacles] of Islamic Banking.
A hand full of Sharia-Mullahs watch over the Islamic banking institution. Men like Mohammed Elgari from Saudi Arabia, Abdul Sattar Abu Ghuddah from Syria, and Nizam Yaqubi from Baharain meet in the Sharia Boards of a dozen financial organizations. They are the mighty lords of the Islamic world of finance (see graphic, “The Sharia nework below”).
Yaqubi alone sits in 85 committees, as the research of the Mainz network research Murat Ünal demonstrates. Only five Sharia-Watchmen are seated at a third of all boards. They administer like professionals over insurance, funds, banks or Islamic market indices. Sheik Guddah, for example, sits on the board of all Islamic index funds providers. At the world-conferences in Geneva and London they are the keynote speakers. They are the legal consultants, confessors, and law-givers in one person for bankers. Their specialty: here and there they avert their eyes, such as when Yaqubi preaches in the Baharaini mosques. Three to four percent is what he accepts as “administration fees, something that does not go against the principles of Sharia.”
The Honorariums and rules appear to be all laid out. “There is a shortage of Learned who are prepared to make rulings that banks like.”, as the adviser Tarek El Divany in London says. In other words: The Lords have very secular pronouncements, and no wonder: Millions and Billions depend on their decisions. In this field [of work] there are six-figure gains for board membership for naming a new financial product.
“A show of religious authority, demonstrated by Islamic Scholars”, economist Mahmoud El-Gamal from Rice University in Texas, laments. He has been dealing with this new discipline for ten years. He has a stack of dozens of stories, details of which illustrate the exploitation, dating as far back as the 80’s. All possible sticky bank dealings that should actually be forbidden [under Sharia] get crafted for gain – from leasing to the bonds market-, with an annual growth of up to 25%.
Great graphic on the Shariah Finance Scholar Network: