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Jewish World Review
Dec. 4, 2007
/ 24 Kislev 5768
Shariah's Trojan horse
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Suddenly, a new national debate is beginning about the
national security, economic and other implications of Persian Gulf
potentates using their petrodollars to buy up strategic American assets.
Most recently, the Emir of Dubai's purchase at fire-sale prices of 4.9
percent of the largest U.S. bank, Citigroup, has caused a level of
unease not seen since he tried to buy his way into a large number of
this country's port facilities.
Almost completely unremarked thus far has been a parallel -
and in many ways far more insidious - effort to penetrate, influence and
dominate America's capital markets: so-called "Shariah finance." Some
estimates suggest that there are approaching $1 trillion now being
invested around the world under this rubric. If present trends
continue, all other things being equal, such funds may grow to many
times that amount within a few years.
Shariah is, of course, the term used by adherents to the
totalitarian ideology practiced by the Saudi Wahhabis, the Iranian
mullahs and the Taliban to describe the all-encompassing theocratic code
they use to justify repressive rule at home and to extend their
dominance elsewhere. While it is often depicted by its promoters as
Koranic in character, in fact, it is largely man-made, the product of
dictates and rulings by caliphs and scholars over many centuries.
For non-Muslims, Shariah is best known for its sanction for
the brutalization of women, homosexuals and Jews. Beheadings,
amputations, flagellation and stoning are among the prescribed
punishments for those who transgress this barbaric code, punishments
plucked from primitive tribal practices in the Arabian deserts dating
back to medieval times.
As a recent, excellent paper
my colleague at the Center for Security Policy, Alex Alexiev, points
out, however, Shariah finance is a relatively contemporary innovation.
It was not until mid-20th Century that Islamofascist ideologues like
Abul ala Mawdudi and Sayyid Qutb introduced the notion that faithful
Muslims must invest their wealth only in vehicles that comply with
Shariah's putative prohibition on interest. In the decades that
followed, relatively few in the Muslim world followed this admonition as
most Muslims regarded with appropriate skepticism financial schemes that
generally were not reliable investments, especially those that went to
almost-farcical lengths to conjure up returns without acknowledging they
amounted to interest payments.
Until now. In recent years, the windfall revenues flowing to the
oil-exporting nations of the Persian Gulf have translated into an
opportunity for the Islamists who dominate their societies to enlist the
West's leading financial institutions as partners in promoting Shariah
finance. In overseas capital markets and increasingly on Wall Street,
"Shariah advisors" are being hired at great cost to bless investment
instruments as compliant with this religious code.
As a result, three ominous things are occurring:
First, Shariah finance creates a mechanism for systematically
legitimating the underlying, repressive theo-political regimen - and,
thereby, advancing its adherents' bid to govern all Muslims and, in due
course, the entire world.
Presumably, Western bankers and investment houses would be horrified to
know they are helping promote such arrangements. One would think their
governments would be, too. Yet, the former are so avidly pursuing
Mideast wealth that few seem prepared to engage in even the most
superficial due diligence about the implications of Shariah finance.
And British prime minister Gordon Brown, for example, has declared he
intends to make London the Islamic finance capital of the world. His
government has said it intends to issue its own sukuk (or
"Shariah-compliant" bonds) sometime next year.
The trouble is that, having embraced one aspect of Shariah, it will be
vastly more difficult, if not as a practical matter impossible, to deny
Islamist activists their demands to accommodate other aspects such as:
footbaths in public institutions, prayer rooms and time off for prayers
in both public and private sector establishments, latitude for cab
drivers and cashiers to decline to do business with certain customers or
handle certain products, an Islamist public school in Brooklyn, etc.
Like Shariah finance, each of these is but a beachhead in the
Islamofascists' patient, determined and ultimately seditious campaign to
subvert and supplant Western free societies.
Elsewhere in some of those societies, such inroads have been expanded to
include: demands for Shariah-compliant schools as in the UK; a push in
Canada for separate shariah courts for all matters within the Muslim
community; Shariah tolerance for honor killings of women attempted in
Germany; destruction of non Shariah-compliant businesses in dedicated
"Muslim enclaves" in France; and in various countries, Shariah-approved
assassinations of critics of Islam and anyone leaving Islam worldwide.
Second, the Shariah advisors hired by Western capitalists to determine
whether investments are "halal" (the Muslim equivalent of kosher) are
generally among the foremost adherents to the Islamist creed and
associated with organizations that promote it. As one of them put it,
Shariah investing is simply "financial jihad" against the unbelievers.
Third, under the direction of these Shariah advisors, at least 2.5% of
the proceeds of the investments they control are donated to Zakat funds.
Some of these "charities" have been known to contribute to organizations
like Hamas, Hezbollah, the families of suicide bombers in Palestinian
communities and Islamist madrassas in places like Pakistan. As
investment advisors start promoting Shariah finance vehicles and Islamic
indexes like Standard & Poors and Dow Jones, non-Muslim Americans will
find themselves tithing to these dubious causes, as well.
Before the Trojan horse of Shariah finance is fully wheeled inside the
gates of the American capital markets, federal regulators, corporate
boards of directors and U.S. shareholders need to understand whether
such investing conforms with the good governance and accountability
required under Sarbanes-Oxley, the transparency depositors are entitled
to under our banking laws and legislation barring material support to
terrorism. To do otherwise is to invite the introduction of the
instrument of our undoing into our capitalist system and the
freedom-loving society it underpins.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. heads the Center for Security Policy. Comments by clicking here.
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© 2006, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.