There are two equally destructive arms of the Islamist movement that seek to impose shariah law on Muslim and Western societies. One is violent calling for activities such as suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism. The other arm operates lawfully, but yet effectively conducting what is termed as “soft jihad”. Both divisions have the same goal and work apart separately, but their work reinforces each others.
For example under shariah law it is blasphemy to criticize Islam or the prophet Muhammad. The violent arm of the Islamist movement would react to something critical of Islam by rioting in the streets, burning cars and killing innocents. The soft jihad side would hire lawyers and sue westerners to silence the critics.
Lawfare is a relatively new term referring to the use of the law as a weapon of war. It actually is an abuse of Western laws and judicial systems to achieve military or political goals. It is often used to silence and punish free speech.
Islamists (states, organizations and individuals) file lawsuits oftentimes they know they cannot win designed to silence critics of militant Islam. The purpose of the suits is to discourage, intimidate and place a financial burden on those who are speaking out against the Islamists such as counterterrorism experts, politicians, law enforcement members – basically anyone who is attempting to sound the alarm about the threat of militant Islam.
For example, the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) sued former U.S. Congressman Cass Ballenger for $2 million for saying in a 2003 interview that CAIR was a “fundraising arm for Hezbollah”. The judge in the case ruled Congressman Ballenger’s statements were protected speech because they were made in the scope of his public duties.
Andrew Whitehead, the founder of a website called Anti-CAIR-net.org was sued by CAIR for $1.3 million for listing CAIR as an Islamist group with terrorists ties on his website. The lawsuit was eventually dropped.
Joe Kaufman from Americans Against Hate was sued by the Muslim American Society for leading a protest against the Muslim Family Day at Six Flags Over Texas. The Texas Court of Appeals eventually dismissed the case although it took a financial toll on Mr. Kaufman.
Bruce Tefft, a retired case officer from the CIA and founding member of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center was sued along with the NYPD by a Muslim police officer for workplace harassment. The police officer had joined Tefft’s e-mail group of terror related news items and commentary. The group is voluntary so the Muslim officer had to subscribe in order to receive the e-mails. The legal bills for Mr. Tefft had exceeded $65,000 before the case even went to trial.
The list of lawsuits is not limited to individuals; Islamic organizations have also sued the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Boston Herald.
These lawsuits are a threat not only to those who are sued, but also to our Constitutional right of free speech. Publishers have cancelled books and many who would speak out have been silenced by the threat of expensive legal battles.
PRAYER FOR MEDIA:
Following the 9/11 attacks on our nation, President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001 and said, “Our ‘war on terror’ begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”
In order to defeat an enemy, we must be able define our enemy. In the days since 9/11, our nation has been involved in a war most Americans were not aware we were even fighting. It is a war we are currently losing – a war of information.
The 9/11 Commission was a bi-partisan group that investigated the 9/11 terrorism attacks on our nation. This Commission “interviewed over 1,200 people in 10 countries and reviewed over two and a half million pages of documents, including some closely guarded classified national security documents.” A final report of the Commission’s findings was released on July 22, 2004.
The language used to describe the attacks on our nation in the 9/11 Commission report reflected the research of the Commission. Here are some examples of the words used and the number of times they appeared in the report: Enemy (39), Jihad (126), Muslim (145), Islam (322), Muslim Brotherhood (5), Religious (65), al Qaeda (36), and Violent Extremism (3).
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) along with other Muslim groups attacked the report. MPAC said, “Terminology is important in defining our goals as well as removing roadblocks into hearts and minds. The 9/11 Commission identifies Islamist terrorism as the threat. The Muslim Public Affairs Council recommends that the US government find other terminology.”
This began a sterilization of the language our government uses regarding terror that continues today.
For example, in 2008, the FBI Counter-terrorism Analytical Lexicon was published. The document’s stated purpose is “to help standardize the terms used in FBI analytical products dealing with counterterrorism.” In this document, the words enemy, jihad, Muslim, Islam, Muslim Brotherhood, and al Qaeda are no longer used. Violent extremism is used 29 times and religious only 3 times. Our enemy, terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda have been quite clear regarding their motivation. Removing language that is part of that motivation simply makes it more difficult to defeat them.
Major Nidal Hasan, a US Army officer shot and killed 13 people and injured 32 at the Soldiers Readiness Processing Center at Fort Hood, Texas on November 5, 2009. He shouted “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Great) as he shot the unarmed soldiers and civilians. Hasan had met Anwar al-Awlaki, now deceased al-Qaeda leader and exchanged e-mails with him prior to the attack. After the attack, a Senate report described it as “the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001,” and said Hasan had become an adherent of “violent Islamist extremism.”
In 2010 the Department of Defense released, Protecting the Force: Lessons from Fort Hood a review of the Fort Hood incident. In this report the word “religious” is used 59 times, but there is no mention of enemy, Muslim, Islam, or jihad. Although Major Hasan was in contact with al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, neither one of these organizations are mentioned in the report. Even more incredibly, Major Hasan, the single shooter in the Ft. Hood incident is never mentioned in the Fort Hood report. In addition, the Department of Defense labeled the incident “workplace violence.”
PRAYER FOR GOVERNMENT
Most Americans are familiar with the popular superhero comic characters, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, but few have probably heard of a new group of Superheroes called The 99 who joined forces with these popular characters for a special miniseries of six comic books published in the United States in 2010.
The comic series is called The 99 because each of the heroes has a power based on one of the 99 attributes of Allah. The characters are adults and teenagers from around the world who find one of 99 magical Noor Stones that gives them their power. Characters include Jabbar The Powerful, Mumita The Destroyer, Noora The Light, and Batina the Hidden. Batina is a superhero woman wearing a burka.
Although there are not yet 99 characters eventually the series plans to have 49 male heroes and 50 female heroes. In addition to the comic books, there is an animated series and spinoffs such as online comics, games, and an iPhone and iPad app and even a theme park in Kuwait.
The animated series was purchased by The Hub, a Discovery Channel cable and satellite television venture. The series was scheduled to be aired in the United States on The Hub in 2011, but it was never aired. Although the network has not given a reason, it is believed it is because of news articles and blogs that protested the Islamic cartoon. Daniel Pipes reported the Times of London described the series’ mission as “instilling old-fashioned Islamic values in Christian, Jewish, and atheist children.”
In 2010 at the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, President Obama called The 99 the “most innovative response” to America’s expanding dialogue with the Muslim world. He further praised the comic books for having “captured the imagination of so many young people with superheroes who embody the teachings and tolerance of Islam.”
PRAYER FOR ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Last week, Interfaith Alliance brought together a coalition of 42 groups who participated in writing a letter to the five members of Congress who had called for an investigation into the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. government. The letter said the actions of the legislators “have serious implications for religious freedom and the health of our democracy.”
It was signed by Jewish, Hindu and secular groups, along with several Christian groups including the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society, United Church of Christ, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations, and the American Baptist Churches USA.
The letter condemning the Congressmen for raising concerns says, “Those you accuse…leaders of the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and Muslim Advocates have long-standing histories of positive and committed work to strengthen the United States of America.”
It is true there are long-standing histories, but most would doubt how positive their work in our nation has been. For example, a look at the history of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is quite revealing. ISNA not only was designated by the United States federal government as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism funding trial, but it also attempted to have the designation removed and failed. U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Solis said the government had produced ample evidence to establish their association with Hamas. Some of the evidence included a Muslim Brotherhood document that listed ISNA as an “apparatus” of the Brotherhood along with proof ISNA raised money and supported Hamas through a joint bank account with the Holy Land Foundation. According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, “ISNA checks deposited into the account were often payable to ‘the Palestinian Mujahiden’”.
ISNA’s ties to Hamas were proven in U.S. federal court. Hamas’ name is an acronym of Harakat al Mawqawama al Islamiyya meaning “Islamic Resistance Movement.” Article 2 of the Hamas charter states “The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
The spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Youssef Qaradawi wrote a book called Priorities of the Islamic Movement in which he gives some reasons for Muslims to participate in interfaith dialogue including “the Church stop supporting Christians against Muslims in every battle that erupts between the two sides, such as those in southern Sudan and the Philippines and in other regions.”
Revealing more of the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates’ purpose for interfaith dialogue, a Qatari newspaper reported Qaradawi’s instructions. “We do not engage in dialogue with them so that they may be pleased with our religion. They will not be satisfied with us unless we follow their form of religion. This is a fact. We only converse with them to find common grounds on which to stand together against atheism, obscenity, and grievances…. We try to rally the Christians with us to stand together, especially for the cause of Palestine, since Palestine has both Muslims and Christians. We have to rally the Muslims and Christians of Jerusalem to stand up together against Zionism and the Israeli arrogance and tyranny. There is no objection to that.”
According to the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the purpose for interfaith dialogue is to convince Christians to stop supporting other Christians and Israel.
The Interfaith Alliance website states, “We believe that religious and political extremists are a threat to individual liberty and democracy.” The problem is the Alliance is clearly unaware that by coming against these legislators and defending groups such as ISNA they are actually aiding those religious extremists. If the Muslim Brotherhood succeeds in creating their goal of a worldwide Islamic caliphate there will be no liberty, democracy or freedom.
PRAYER FOR RELIGION
As children across the nation soon return to the classroom after the summer break, it is an excellent time for parents, grandparents and other loved ones to become aware of what our children are learning. This is especially critical regarding the religion of Islam.
It is certainly valuable in our increasingly global economy to understand the dynamics and culture of other parts of the world and learning about religions as part of that study is an integral part. As Christians we must insist however that any study of other religions is done in a way to fairly and truthfully educate students and make sure it is indeed education instead of indoctrination.
ACT for America has done an excellent, extensive review of the treatment of Islam in American textbooks. They reviewed and analyzed the treatment of Islam in thirty-eight American textbooks ranging from the 6th to 12th grade level. These are textbooks currently in use in public schools across the nation.
Their findings are alarming and need to be addressed by individual schools, school boards and states across the nation. Overall the amount of information in textbooks about Islam has increased while the amount about Christianity has decreased.
One example of a completely false statement is from the text, World History – Patterns of Interaction. The text says, “Shari’a law requires Muslim leaders to extend religious tolerance to Christians and Jews.” Another text, World Explorer – Medieval Times to Today, says, “Christians and Jews had full religious freedom. They built churches and synagogues, and several were financed by the state. The state did not ask Christians and Jews to perform military service, but it required them to pay a head tax called jizya…”
Both of these statements are false. Shariah law imposes many burdens and restrictions on Christians and Jews. Under shariah law Christians and Jews cannot build new houses of worship or even make repairs to existing ones. They cannot bear arms, ride horses, pray (if the prayer can be heard by a Muslim) or give testimony in Islamic courts. During certain periods of history, Christians and Jews were required to wear clothing or a badge signifying their non-Muslim status.
Unfortunately, American textbooks are full of examples like this. In our society where Christianity is continually attacked for being “intolerant”, children across our nation are being taught inaccurate, and sometimes blatantly misleading information about a religion, which truly is intolerant of other religions. If you have a child in school, take the time and investigate the information regarding Islam in their textbook. ACT for America’s report can be downloaded at this address.
PRAYER FOR EDUCATION
The fast food chain based in Atlanta, Georgia has been under attack from gay and lesbian groups because of its support of traditional marriage – marriage defined as being between a man and a woman. Earlier this month, The Biblical Recorder, the news journal for NC Baptists, published an interview with Dan Cathy, president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A about the chain and its commitment to operating on biblical principles. In the interview when asked about the company’s support of the traditional family, Cathy replied, “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit.”
This interview began a new series of attacks against the company by gay and lesbian groups. In addition the restaurant chain met with harsh criticism from the mayors of two major cities.
Boston mayor Thomas Menino wrote a letter to Dan Cathy expressing his support of same sex marriage and urging the company to “back out of your plans to locate to Boston…There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it.” A copy of the letter can be viewed on The City of Boston’s Facebook page.
When asked in a television interview if he would tell the Catholic Church or the Boy Scouts that they are not welcome because of their stance on gay marriage, the mayor replied, “They are not funding an organization who are anti-gay…. It’s a different story.”
The Mayor of Boston, however, does have a history of funding an organization that is anti-gay with taxpayer money. It seems Mayor Menino sold city property valued at $2 million to the Islamic Society of Boston for $175,000 to build their mosque. This particular mosque has a history of being tied with extremists including Yusuf al Qaradawi who according to Reuters called for the murder of homosexuals.
Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel also criticized Chick-Fil-A saying, “If you’re going to be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values.” Interestingly, Mayor Emanuel welcomed help for the Chicago community from Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam leader without questioning Farrakhan’s values.
For the last two Mondays, a group of men known as the Fruit of Islam were led by Farrakhan to form a human wall of protection in violence plagued Chicago neighborhoods. In addition, Mayor Emanuel backed an Alderman’s call to block the construction of a Chick-fil-A in Chicago, but the city recently allowed the Nation of Islam to reopen the Salaam Restaurant that “springs from the mission of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.”
Although the Nation of Islam teachings do not completely align with traditional Islamic teachings, Farrakhan has often expressed his views regarding homosexuality. He has said, “God don’t like men coming to men with lust in their hearts like you should go to a female. If you think that the kingdom of God is going to be filled up with that kind of degenerate crap, you’re out of your d— mind.”
Traditional Islamic teachings are a quite a bit harsher. The Reliance of the Traveller says, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
(1) “Kill the one who sodomizes and the one who lets it be done to him.”
(2) “May Allah curse him who does what Lot’s people did.”
(3) “Lesbianism by women is adultery between them.”
The hypocrisy of those who criticize a Christian for a view that they may not agree with yet all the while advancing the agenda of Islam in their cities either reveals an ignorance of the teachings of Islam which is unlikely in both the cases presented above or a willful blind eye to truth.
PRAY FOR BUSINESS:
During a July 27th Congressional hearing, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, Tom Perez, repeatedly refused to answer Rep. Trent Franks question regarding the administration’s position on the freedom of speech.
Rep. Franks asked, “Will you tell us here today that this administration’s Department of Justice will never entertain or advance a proposal that criminalizes speech against any religion?” Earlier in the hearing, Rep. Franks had referenced an article that was published in October 2011, detailing a meeting between top Justice department officials and Islamists. Perez said he was not aware of the article.
In this particular meeting the Muslim representatives lobbied the Justice department officials for several things including, “cutbacks in anti-terror funding, changes in agents’ training manuals, additional curbs on investigators and a legal declaration that U.S. citizens’ criticism of Islam constitutes racial discrimination.”
Sahar Aziz, an Egyptian-American lawyer from the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding argued that Americans’ fear of Islamists’ bombs has evolved into racism towards dark-skinned men.
Although some in the United States have been accused of being “racist” when criticizing Islam, it is important to note that Islam is not a race. Oftentimes if one can paint their opponent as being racist, the facts do not matter.
Asst. Attorney General Perez reportedly praised the group, who he said had convinced the government to end extra security checks from twelve Islamic countries (including Nigeria – the home of the Christmas Day underwear bomber).
Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America (an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Terrorism trial), argued that “teaching people that all Muslims are a threat to the country…is against the law and the Constitution.”
Perez is quoted in the article as saying; “I sat here the entire time, taking notes. I have some very concrete thoughts…in the aftermath of this.”
Rep. Franks asked Perez exactly what his concrete thoughts had been. Perhaps Rep. Franks asked because of the White House ordered review of counterterrorism training material and an internal FBI investigation purged hundreds of documents of instructional material about radical Islam.
Those who have clearly shown themselves to have an agenda of advancing an anti-American system are threatening the security of our nation.
PRAY FOR GOVERNMENT:
In 1776 the United States colonies declared their independence from Britain with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In part the Declaration reads, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This document is one of the foundations of our nation. Our adversaries also frequently twist it in their attempts to destroy, not enhance, the crucial underpinnings of our democracy as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Take the following example where Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) attempts to wrap the subjugating, medieval shariah law with the liberating political writings embodied in our founding documents.
In May, after signing legislation barring the use of foreign laws in court decisions, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback met with harsh criticism from Muslim groups. Nedhira Al-Khalili, the CAIR legal council said, “This clearly unconstitutional legislation, like all the others targeting Muslims’ religious rights nationwide, invites a legal challenge. The unmistakable and un-American bigotry espoused by the sponsors of these bills should be repudiated by Americans of all faiths.” Naeem Baig, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) VP of Public Affairs said, “This goes against the noble principles of freedom of religion in America. Most people don’t realize that outlawing the use of Shariah would be akin to outlawing the Ten Commandments, Talmudic law, or the Gospels of Jesus. American Muslims observing Shariah are being discriminated against.”
As you can see Muslim groups use the idea of religious discrimination (though Islam is certainly among the most discriminatory of the world’s faiths) as a basis to counter this type of legislation. However, we must question what happens when Islamic religious practices take away Americans’ right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in direct opposition to both the meaning and purpose of our founding documents.
An example of a portion of shariah law that is in direct conflict with U.S. Federal law is female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM refers to the practice of partially or totally removing the external female genitalia, frequently without anesthesia. In yet another example of politically correct terminology and multiculturalism, the procedure is also referred in a U.S. government flyer as female circumcision and female genital cutting (FGC). The flyer explains, “Some people fear that parents may resent the implication that they are ’mutilating’ their daughters by participating in this largely cultural event and so reject the term FGM in favor of FGC. Some people point out that the word ‘cutting’ is less judgmental and relates better to terms used in many local languages.”
Regardless, the practice often causes serious physical and psychological effects. The World Health Organization says the practice has no health benefits and can cause a range of health problems including “severe bleeding and problem urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth.” Federal law in the United States prohibited FGM in 1996, but the Center for Disease Control or CDC estimated in 2010 between 150,000 to 200,000 girls in the U.S. are in danger of being taken overseas to undergo the procedure.
The flyer produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services further says, “Although many people believe that FGC is associated with Islam, it is not. FGC is not supported by any religion and is condemned by many religious leaders.”
Although it is certainly true FGM predates Islam and is still practiced by people from different religious backgrounds, there are Islamic shariah scholars who support and encourage FGM. The “Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law” specifically addresses female circumcision. The International Institute of Islamic Thought, the Fiqh Council of North America and the prestigious Islamic Al Azhar University have endorsed this manual.
This shariah law text states, “Circumcision is obligatory (O: for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. Bazr) of the clitoris (n: not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). (A: Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna [meaning, the normal custom, or a practice decided by Mohammad], while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.)
Dr. Hatem al-Haj, PhD, MD, senior committee member of the Association of Muslims Jurists of America (AMJA) said in his paper entitled, “Circumcision of Girls: Jurisprudence and Medicine,” female genital mutilation is “at the very least it can be said that for women it is an honor.” After his paper, written in Arabic, was translated in April of 2012 and posted in part by Jihad Watch, Dr. al-Haj was fired by the Mayo Clinic for his position. He has since stated he only supported a “ritual nick” which is still prohibited by federal law.
Even more revealing, especially with U.S. support of the newly elected Muslim Brotherhood president in Egypt is the legal ruling by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood who said, “The [Islamic] hadith indicates that circumcision is better for a woman’s health and it enhances her conjugal relation with her husband.”
PRAYER FOR THE FAMILY:
Filmmaker Eric Allen Bell learned firsthand of U.S. media bias toward Islam. Bell, taking a break from his work in Hollywood, had moved to Murfreesboro, TN. He found himself in the middle of a controversy that continues today.
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was planning to build a 53,000 square foot mosque on some farmland on the outer edge of town. Bell, not a fan of religion as he describes himself, felt the controversy was one of fanatical Evangelicals bullying peaceful Muslims who simply wanted to build a place of worship. When he learned of an anti-mosque parade planned for the community, he decided to make a documentary to illustrate what he believed to be typical Christian intolerance. This documentary was to be titled “Not Welcome.”
The dominant liberal, mainstream media picked up on his project and soon he wrote several pieces for Michael Moore and others. He returned to California to show a short version of his documentary attempting to gain additional support to finish the project. He found someone who promised they would back him to finish the movie. The documentary on the Murfreesboro mosque would be used to focus on what he considered America’s “religious lunatic fringe” ignoring any serious investigation into the Muslims.
Around this time he returned to Tennessee and while in a taxi driven by an Egyptian cab driver, his views began to change. It began when he asked the driver, a Coptic Christian, how he felt about the fall of Mubarak. The cab driver replied he was concerned because he feared for his family back home. He said if the Muslims took control, it would become very dangerous for his family. After this conversation, Bell took a fresh look at Islam. He began to read reports from authors like Robert Spencer and Frank Gaffney, and he did his own independent research, which verified this newly discovered information for him. Indeed, this fear is especially well founded when considering how the most ancient of Christian populations is being driven from their homes in many nations in the Middle East including Iraq and Egypt. This is a good example of an Islamist government taking over from a Sunni, secular government and then systematically persecuting Christians.
Bell’s change of perspective did not endear him to his former supporters as he soon discovered as he began to share his findings with them. They told Bell his judgment was unsound and unclear and suggested he step away from the project. He was even told to make the documentary the way it was originally planned painting a strong negative perspective on Christians or to return the money. To his credit, he decided to stick to the truth.
In January of 2012, he wrote three articles for Daily Kos. The first was called, “Loonwatch.com and Radical Islam” asserting Loonwatch was “fundamentally a radical Islamic front for terrorism, spreading distorted information about the reality of rapidly spreading Islamic fundamentalism – through lies of omission.” The next day Loonwatch.com called Eric Bell the “Loon at Large.” All three articles were ultimately met with cries of Islamophobia and “hate speech.” The attacks were not on the truth of the information he presented, rather they were personal attacks no his character. His final article called, “Are You in Favor of Human Rights?” led to him being banned from Daily Kos.
Unfortunately, Eric Bell’s experiences are not unique, as we have seen recently with the personal attacks against Rep. Michele Bachmann.
PRAYER FOR MEDIA:
The term “Islamic banking” refers to a system of banking or banking activity that is consistent with Islamic law (Shariah) principles and guided by Islamic economics. The Financial Times recently published an article regarding Islamic banking. The article portrays shariah compliant finance in our banking systems as ethical, however by western standards one would question those ethics.
Shariah Finance Watch has compiled a list of financial institutions active in the United States that have a tie to shariah compliant finance along with entities that do not offer financial products but play key roles in enabling shariah compliant finance in our nation. This list includes AIG, Bank of America, Barclays, Bloomberg, Century 21, J.P. Morgan Chase, CitiBank, The Coca-Cola Company, Dow Jones, GE Capital, Harvard Law School, HSBC, International Institute of Islamic Thought, NASDAQ, and Standard & Poor’s.
Shariah compliant financial products are, as the name indicates, governed by Islamic shariah law. A product is determined to be compliant based on the approval of one or more Islamic scholars who serve on an advisory board for any institution offering shariah compliant products. The financial transactions cannot involve “impure” activities that include alcohol, pork, tobacco, gambling, pornography and western defense, and they cannot charge interest. Most importantly 2.5% of the assets of a shariah compliant instrument has to be donated as “zakat”. The Islamic scholars, serving on the advisory boards, determine how to distribute this money.
Zakat is giving a portion (2.5%) of one’s wealth to charity and is one of the five pillars of Islam. The money can be distributed between eight categories: the poor, those short of money, zakat workers, those who hearts are to reconciled, slaves purchasing their freedom, those in debt, those fighting for Allah and travelers needing money. The phrase, those fighting for Allah, means, “people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster” (Reliance of the Traveller h8.17 p. 272). Those fighting for Allah are given money even if they are wealthy which is to be spent on weapons, clothing and other expenses including supporting the fighter’s family.
Although zakat is found in the Qur’an, Islamic finance cannot be found in the Qur’an or the hadith. Islamic leaders in fact invented it in the 1940s and 1950s. Abul A’al al-Mawdudi and Sayyid Qutb – both who desired to insulate the Islamic world from western civilization wrote about Islamic economics, but at the time Islamic financial products did not exist.
The idea of Islamic financial products did not take root until the Arab Oil Embargo in the 1970s when countries such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates developed large banking institutions. The nation of Iran began to dominate the industry after the 1979 Islamic revolution and today 6 of the 10 top shariah compliant financial institutions are actually Iranian state banks.
There are only around two-dozen shariah scholars who serve on the advisory boards of shariah compliant financial institutions around the world. These scholars sometimes serve on the boards of competing institutions, which would be considered a conflict of interest in the western world.
Mufti Taqi Usmani was the chief of the Dow Jones shariah advisory board and the chief of HSBC’s shariah advisory board. After it was uncovered that Usmani believed Muslims in the West had a duty to rise up in jihad against their Western neighbors and had served as an officer of the madrassa in Pakistan that gave birth to the Taliban, he was replaced by his son.
Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has been on the advisory boards of many financial institutions. This includes a bank called Al Taqwa based out of the Bahamas. The bank had an association with a real estate investment firm called BMI based in New Jersey. Both were shut down by the US Treasury Department for sending funds to finance terrorism.
PRAY FOR BUSINESS: