The panelists of a session on Shariah finance and banking at the Jeddah Economic Forum were of the view that Saudi Arabia, which has made rapid strides in Shariah finance, could be a role model in promoting it among both Islamic and even non-Islamic countries.
We couldn’t agree more.
After all, Saudi Arabia is one of the few nations (along with Iran and Sudan) that is ruled from A to Z by Shariah law, a brutal, medieval code. Daily in Saudi Arabia, the religious police patrol the streets enforcing Shariah codes.
Saudi Arabia is also suitable as a role model for Shariah finance by virtue of its extreme discrimination. Don’t believe us? Try to bring a bible into the country. Get caught praying to any God other than allah. Try to drive a car if you are a woman. For that matter, make the mistake of being seen at a coffee shop with a male who is not a member of your family. Commit any of these crimes and you will be punished.
Finally, Saudi Arabia is no fettered by any of those pesky rules and regulations against terror financing. One of the biggest Saudi-based charities, the Union of Good, which is headed by Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has been designated a terrorist entity by the US Treasury Department for funding jihadist terrorism. This is convenient since the Wikileaks documents revealed that, 10 years after mostly Saudi Jihadist terrorists attacked America on September 11th, 2001, Al Qaeda still gets most of its funding from wealthy Saudis and the Saudi government continues to essentially allow it to happen.
By all means, along with their neighbor across the gulf, Iran, which truly does dominate Shariah finance, the Saudis are indeed the perfect role model for Shariah Finance.