web analytics
August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Sharia law’

Britain: ‘A World Capital for Islamic Finance’

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

The London Stock Exchange will be launching a new Islamic bond index in an effort to establish the City of London as one of the world’s leading centers of Islamic finance.

Britain also plans to become the first non-Muslim country to issue sovereign Islamic bonds, known as sukuk, beginning as early as 2014.

The plans are all part of the British government’s strategy to acquire as big a slice as possible of the fast-growing global market of Islamic finance, which operates according to Islamic Sharia law and is growing 50% faster than the conventional banking sector.

Although it is still a fraction of the global investment market — Sharia-compliant assets are estimated to make up only around 1% of the world’s financial assets — Islamic finance is expected to be worth £1.3 trillion (€1.5 trillion; $2 trillion) by 2014, a 150% increase from its value in 2006, according to the World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, published in May 2013 by the consultancy Ernst & Young.

But critics say that Britain’s ambitions to attract investments from Muslim countries, companies and individuals are spurring the gradual establishment of a parallel global financial system based on Islamic Sharia law.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the plans during a keynote speech at the ninth World Islamic Economic Forum, which was held in London from October 29-31, the first time the event has ever been held outside the Muslim world.

“Already London is the biggest center for Islamic finance outside the Islamic world,” Cameron told the audience of more than 1,800 international political and business leaders from over 115 countries.

“And today our ambition is to go further still. Because I don’t just want London to be a great capital of Islamic finance in the Western world, I want London to stand alongside Dubai and Kuala Lumpur as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world.”

Cameron said the new Islamic bond index on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) would help stimulate fixed-income investments from Muslim investors — especially investors from oil-rich Persian Gulf countries — by helping them identify which listed companies adhere to Islamic principles.

Investors who practice Islamic finance — which is said to be structured to conform to a strict code of ethics based on the Koran and Sharia law — refuse to invest in companies that are linked to alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco, weapons or pork. Islamic finance also forbids collecting or paying interest and requires that deals be based on tangible assets.

Unlike conventional bonds, sukuk are described as investments rather than loans, with the initial payment made from an Islamic investor in the form of a tangible asset such as land. The lender of a sukuk earns money as profit from rent, as in real estate, rather than traditional interest.

Cameron says the British Treasury will issue £200 million (€235 million; $320 million) worth of sukuk as early as 2014. The objective is to enable the government to borrow from Muslim investors. The Treasury plans to issue fixed returns based on the profit made by a given asset, thereby allowing Muslims to invest without breaking Islamic laws forbidding interest-bearing bonds.

The Treasury also said some sukuk bond issues may require the British government to restrict its dealings with Israeli-owned companies in order to attract Muslim money.

Although Britain has already established itself as the leading secondary market for sukuk — the LSE has listed 49 sukuk bonds worth $34 billion during the past five years — such bonds have rarely been issued from local firms and never from the government.

“For years people have been talking about creating an Islamic bond, or sukuk, outside the Islamic world. But it’s never quite happened,” Cameron said. “Changing that is a question of pragmatism and political will. And here in Britain we’ve got both.”

According to Cameron, this “pragmatism and political will” is being influenced by the fact that Islamic finance is “already fundamental” to the success of the British economy. Indeed, it is.

Britain is already the leading Western center for Islamic financial and related professional services. It is a leading provider of Sharia-compliant finance, with reported assets of $19 billion, according to Islamic Finance 2013, a new report published by The City UK, a financial sector lobby group.

Denmark Bans Meatballs to Accommodate Muslims

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

One of the largest hospitals in Denmark has admitted to serving only halal beef — meat that is slaughtered in accordance with strict Islamic guidelines — to all of its patients regardless of whether or not they are Muslim.

The revelation that Danes are being forced to eat Islamically slaughtered meat at public institutions has triggered a spirited nationwide debate about how far Denmark should go to accommodate the estimated 250,000 Muslim immigrants now living in the country.

The halal food row erupted in July when the Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet reported that Hvidovre Hospital near Copenhagen has been secretly serving only halal-slaughtered meat for the sake of its Muslim patients, for the past ten years. The hospital serves more than 40,000 patients annually, many (if not most) of whom presumably are non-Muslim.

Halal — which in Arabic means lawful or legal — is a term designating any object or action that is permissible according to Islamic Sharia law. In the context of food, halal meat is derived from animals slaughtered by hand according to methods stipulated in Islamic religious texts.

One such halal method, called dhabihah, consists of making a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife on the neck that cuts the jugular vein, leaving the animal to bleed to death. Much of the controversy involving halal stems from the fact that Sharia law bans the practice of stunning the animals before they are slaughtered. Pre-slaughter stunning renders the animals unconscious and is said to lessen their pain.

Amid a surge of public outrage over the decision to serve only halal beef, Hvidovre Hospital’s vice president, Torben Mogensen, has been unapologetic. “We have many patients from different ethnic backgrounds, which we must take into account, and it is impossible to have both the one and the other kind of beef,” he says.

“First,” Mogensen adds, “I do not think that a slaughter method as such has anything to do with faith. Second is, of course, that all chickens in Denmark are halal slaughtered, and it has to my knowledge not caused anyone to stop eating chicken.”

Mogensen also says the hospital is not trying to “push the Islamic faith down the throats of non-Muslim patients”

In a press release, Hvidovre Hospital states, “We introduced halal meat both for practical and economic reasons. It would be both more difficult and more expensive to have to make both a halal version and a non-halal version of the dishes. Then we have two production lines. It requires more people, more equipment and more money.”

The hospital advises non-Muslims to take it or leave it: “We always have alternatives to halal meat such as pork, fish or vegetarian dishes. It is a question of attitude.”

According to the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, there is no comprehensive inventory of the number of hospitals in Denmark have halal meat on the menu. But officials at the University Hospital in Aarhus, the second-largest urban area in Denmark after Copenhagen, say the decision by Hvidovre Hospital to serve only halal is an example of political correctness run amok.

In an interview with the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Ole Hoffmann, the head chef of Aarhus University Hospital says: “We have never had a patient ask for halal meat, and therefore it is an issue that we have never discussed. I think it is a strange decision. If there was a desire to serve halal meat, then we would of course consider it, but we would never completely eliminate non-halal meat.”

 

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

Islamic Law’s Foothold in German Legal System

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

A growing number of German legal experts are now sounding the alarm about the rise of a parallel Islamic justice in Germany. “It follows its own rules. The Islamic arbiters aren’t interested in evidence when they deliver a judgment, and the question of who is at fault doesn’t play much of a role. Islamic conflict resolution, as I’ve experienced it, is often achieved through violence and threats. It’s often a dictate of power on the part of the stronger family.” — Joachim Wagner, German legal expert, author.

An appeals court in northwestern Germany has decided a contentious divorce case based on Islamic Sharia law.

The ruling is the latest in a growing number of court cases in Germany in which judges refer or defer to Islamic law because either the plaintiffs or the defendants are Muslim.

Critics say the cases — especially those in which German law has taken a back seat to Sharia law — reflect a dangerous encroachment of Islamic law into the German legal system.

In the latest case, the Appeals Court [Oberlandesgericht] in Hamm, a city in German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, ruled on June 2 that whoever marries according to Islamic law in a Muslim country and later seeks a divorce in Germany must abide by the original terms set forth by Sharia law.

The case involved a 23-year-old Iranian woman who married a 31-year-old Iranian man in Iran according Sharia law in 2009. The couple later immigrated to the German city of Essen, gave birth to a daughter but then separated in 2011. A lower court in Essen granted the woman a divorce in November 2012 and the husband appealed the decision.

The appeals court in Hamm sided with the woman because, according to the German judge, the couple agreed to abide by the principles of Sharia law at the time they were married and thus the case should be decided according to Islamic law, regardless of whether the couple was now living in Germany.

The court ruled that the woman was legally entitled to talaq, an Islamic means of obtaining a divorce by reciting the phrase “I divorce you” three times. The court also said the husband had violated the original terms of the Islamic marriage agreement by failing to provide financial support for his wife for a period of six months.

The ruling has opened another round in a long-running debate about the role of Islam in German jurisprudence.

Supporters of the decision say it is fair and consistent with Article 14 of the Introductory Statute to the Civil Code [Einführungsgesetz zum Bürgerlichen Gesetzbuche, EGBGB], which states that the law governing a marriage generally should be the law of the country in which the marriage took place. But critics of the ruling say it should not be the role of German courts to enforce the arcane provisions of Sharia law.

In a similar but separate case, the appeals court in Hamm announced in April 2013 that it had overturned a previous decision by a lower court in Dortmund and ordered a 33-year-old Iranian man to pay his estranged 29-year-old wife (also an Iranian) the equivalent of 800 gold coins as part of a divorce settlement.

That case revolved around a couple who were married in Iran in 2001, immigrated to Dortmund and later obtained German citizenship. The couple separated in 2007.

As part of the marriage agreement, the husband had promised to pay his wife a dower of 800 Bahar Azadi gold coins payable upon demand. The court ordered the husband to pay €213,000 ($280,000), the current equivalent value of the coins, in compliance with a marriage contract he signed in accordance with Islamic law, despite the fact that both individuals are now German citizens.

In February 2011, Germany’s Federal Labor Court [Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG] in Erfurt ruled that a Muslim supermarket employee was legally entitled to refuse to handle bottles of alcohol on religious grounds.

The case in question involved a 47-year-old Turkish man who had been employed at a supermarket in the northern German city of Kiel since 1994. The problem had begun in 2003, when the man was assigned to work in the beverages department, but refused to stock the store’s shelves with alcoholic drinks, based on the argument that Islam forbade him from any contact with alcohol. In response, the store manager reassigned the employee to stock milk bottles in the dairy department, but the man complained that he was not accustomed to working in a refrigerated environment, so he frequently called in sick. The man was eventually sent back to work in the beverages department, where the conflict over the alcohol bottles intensified. The employee was eventually fired in March 2008.

Rubin Reports: A First Look at Egypt’s New Constitution Shows a Careful Ambiguity On Islamic Rule

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

http://rubinreports.blogspot.co.il/

Although it isn’t official, the first two articles of Egypt’s new Constitution have been reportedly drafted by the committee of parliamentarians charged with that task. Article 1 defines Egypt as part of the Arab and Muslim nation, a compromise between acceptance of the country as a normal nation-state and its identity as either a purely Arab nationalist or Islamist entity.

Similarly, Article 2, according to Mohamed Emara, head of the committee responsible for drafting this section, says:

“Islam is the religion of the state, and Arabic is its official language, and the principles of Islamic Sharia are the main source for legislation. Christians and Jews shall resort to legislation derived from their own religions.”

There is some ambiguity here as to whether Egypt would thus be a Sharia state. On one hand, Islamic law is not made the sole source of legislation, while the word “principles” might mean that the interpretation will be loose, principles and not all of the details. Bourhamy says that this merely shows that Egypt isn’t a secular state.

On the other hand, though, both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis accepted this formulation which, since they want a Sharia state, apparently feel does not block their goal from being reached. Moreover, precisely what “principles” means will be defined not by some governmental organ but by the al-Azhar mosque university. While the leaders of that institution are more moderate than the Brotherhood and Salafis, presumably President Muhammad al-Mursi will replace them at some point with his own people.

The Arabic word used to define “democracy” was “shura.”  This is a term often used in Muslim countries because it is found in the Koran. It might be translated as “consultative,” since the ruler (in this case, al-Mursi) can consult with the parliament. This might be taken to imply that its decisions are not binding. Also that the parliament does not have a free hand in passing laws since—it is implied—no law can be passed that conflicts with Sharia law.

Non-Islamists can argue that there is no harm in the word but it should be noted that the idea for using this term was suggested by a Salafist.

The bottom line is that there is an ambiguity which Western observers and anti-Islamist Egyptians can say means that the country will not be a Sharia state, while Islamists can maintain their own view. The key point, of course, is not the wording as such but who gets to interpret it down the road.

Finally, Christians, it is implied, will be governed by their own religious laws. But this is a peculiar formulation. If Egypt is not governed by Sharia law then why would Christians need to be exempt from it? If this provision is restricted only to matters of personal status (principally marriage, divorce, and inheritance) then Christians would mostly be living under Sharia law in any state court. And what does this constitutional provision mean for example regarding the status of women, where Egyptian law has granted more rights than Sharia would do? Another important issue will be the appointment of future judges since many of the current magistrates oppose Sharia law as that of the state.

If there is an Islamist president and parliament who pass laws that correspond only to Sharia and who appoint Islamist judges and al-Azhar  shaykhs then Egypt will be a Sharia state. No doubt though the Constitution will be interpreted by many Western observers of proof that the Brotherhood and Salafists have moderated.

Demand for Sharia Law in Libya Growing

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

The call for Sharia law to inspire legislation is gaining traction in Libya, with Islamists rallying across the country on Friday against the emergence of secular political parties.

The demonstrations were comprised mainly of members of the conservative Muslim Brotherhood and ultra-conservative Salafis. Men holding copies of the Koran protested in squares in Tripoli, Benghazi, and Sabha.

In the wake of the recent Islamic electoral successes in Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt, Islamist parties in Libya are expected to fair very well in elections for a national assembly, expected to take place in June.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/demand-for-sharia-law-in-libya-growing/2012/01/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: