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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Sharia’

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.

‘The American’ Somali Jihadist Executed for Sin of Narcissism

Friday, September 13th, 2013

This time he’s actually dead.

At least, that’s what the current reports are saying.  The “he” is American-born jihadist Omar Hammami, who is also known as Abu Mansour al Amriki.

The nickname of the dead terrorist, “al Amriki,” means “the American.”  He was born in Alabama to a Muslim Syrian father and an American Christian mother.  Originally raised as a Southern Baptist, Hammami eventually turned towards his father’s religion, but unlike his father, Omar could not reconcile a western life and the practice of the Islamic religion.

The young Hammami was close with his Jewish high school teacher, Kathleen Hirsch, who mentored him for six years while he was in the gifted student program first in elementary school and then at Daphne Middle School in Alabama.

As Hammami became increasingly consumed by Islam, he flouted the rules and dared anyone to stop him.  Apparently, no one did.

“By his junior year, Hammami had become a spectacle. He made a point of praying by the flagpole outside school yet refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance, friends recalled. In class, he swore at Hirsch, his longtime teacher, assailing her for being Jewish,” The New York Times reported in a lengthy 2010 story about him.

Hammami moved first to Canada, where he married a Somali girl whose family had fled the civil war in her home country.  Their next stop was Egypt.  In 2006 Hammami, disappointed by the secularism of Egypt, moved again, leaving behind his wife and child.  This time Hammami went to Somalia, intent upon pursuing his goal of jihad.  He hoped to help usher in the caliphate, that is, an Islamic world order. He wanted to live where Islamic ideology, the Sharia, is practiced fully and accurately.

Hammami joined al Shabaab, the “Muhahadeen Youth Movement,” which is an al Qaeda faction based in Somalia.  Al Shabaab is dedicated to fighting enemies of Islam, and have been responsible for many deaths of foreign aid workers in Somalia.  The group controls large portions of southern Somalia, where it has imposed very strict Islamic rules.

In the seven years during which Abu Mansour al Amriki was in Somalia, he served as a Shabaab military commander, propagandist, recruiter, and fundraiser.

Although Omar rose quickly through the al Shabaab ranks, the same qualities that marked him as a leader first in his Alabama schools, then amongst his fellow al Qaeda terrorists, soured his fellow Islamists.  Omar “starred” in too many propaganda and recruiting videos.  He even released several “hip hop” videos, encouraging others to join him in jihad. The other al Shabaab leaders turned on Hammami and exiled him in January, 2013, for his “narcissistic pursuit of fame.”

Al Amriki again turned to videos to express his displeasure with his former comrades, chastising them for being short-sighted.  The al Shabaab terrorists were solely focused on controlling Somalia, whereas al Amriki wanted to conquer the whole world for Islam.

According to reports, the Somali insurgents had enough of the white-skinned jihadist with the big plans. Twice before there were rumors of al Amriki’s death.

Members of al Shabaab reportedly shot and killed Hammami and a colleague in their hideout in southern Somalia on Thursday, September, 12.  He was 29 years old.

Talking about Terrorism and Islam

Monday, April 8th, 2013

The first rule of Jihad Club is that there’s no talking about it. For the second rule, see the first rule. The culture of silence and terrorism denial is sometimes well meaning. Since the Bush days, experts on Islam have warned that the best way to defeat Islamic terrorists is to undermine their claim to fighting on behalf of Islam by refusing to call them Islamic. The sheer brilliance of this strategy was only partly undermined by its origins in Saudi Arabia, the country sponsoring Islamic terrorists, and by the fact that recruiting primarily takes place in media and channels completely immune to the voluntary speech codes adopted by the A.P. stylebook.

The average Al Qaeda recruit is utterly unaffected by whether the White House press secretary calls the group Islamic, Islamist or terrorist or militant. He similarly does not care whether Nidal Hasan’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood is called an act of terror or workplace violence. Such concerns exist only in the bubble of experts who offer shortcuts to fighting terrorism that don’t actually involve killing terrorists.

Muslims are more likely to see Al Qaeda as Islamic because it kills Americans, regardless of what the official representatives of the Americans call that killing. The reasons for this are to be found in the militant roots and practice of their religion. And the Americans who get to die, but do not get a vote on how their deaths will be described, know that Al Qaeda is a Muslim terrorist group. Only in the realm of the expert bubble is it thought that changing words can change how favorably Muslims will view the killers of Americans and how Americans will identify or misidentify their killers.

Largely though the denial is not well meaning. To the left, Muslim terrorism runs the gamut from being a distraction to a call for reforming American foreign policy. After Obama won two elections, the liberal has trouble figuring out what more reforms need to be passed and complains that all this terrorism is a distraction from truly important issues like Global Warming and school budgets, while the avowed leftist goes Full Greenwald and rants about drone holocausts in Pakistan.

After the Arab Spring, the withdrawal from Iraq and the coming withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Obama deftly maneuvering into a pro-Hamas position on Israel; it’s hard to see what else America can or should do to appease the Jihad. The left will always have its checklist, but even Obama knows that no matter what he says or does, the drones will have to keep flying because it decreases the chances of a major terrorist attack that will force the country into taking a much more aggressive posture against Islamic terrorism.

The new low-intensity conflict is big on things we don’t talk about. We don’t talk about the drones and we don’t talk about the terrorists we are fighting. Instead we talk about how great Islam is.

Talking about how great Islam is and not talking about terrorism is an old hobby for America. We’ve been at it since September 11 and no matter how many interfaith meetings have been held and how often we talk about how much we have in common, the bombs still keeping showing up.

All the projects for Muslim self-esteem, from world tours of Muslim Hip-Hop groups to NASA being turned into a Muslim self-esteem laboratory, seem like bad refugees from failed 70s solutions to crime. All that’s left is to hold midnight basketball events across the Middle East and call for prison reform and we might as well be back in the worst days of the liberal war for crime. The problem is not that Muslim terrorists don’t love themselves enough… it’s that they love themselves too much.

Islamism is not caused by poor self-esteem, but by a lack of humility. Americans are often told that they are not good enough to tell the rest of the world what to do. But Islamists are never told that at all. Instead they are told by their own religious leaders that their way is superior and ought to be imposed on everyone and they are told by our leaders that their way is superior but should only be imposed on everyone after a democratic election.

Muslimah Misogyny: ‘Muslim Women Against Femen’

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

I recently reported deep concern for a young Tunisian Muslima who had disappeared after she posted topless photos of herself to protest the sharia oppression and subjugation she suffered as a Muslim girl. One controversial image showed the young Muslimah, Amina Tyler, smoking a cigarette, baring her breasts, with the Arabic written across her chest: “My body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour.”

A Muslim cleric in moderate Tunisia called for her stoning death.  Tunisian newspaper Kapitalis quoted preacher Almi Adel, who heads the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, saying: “The young lady should be punished according to sharia, with 80 to 100 lashes, but [because of] the severity of the act she has committed, she deserves be stoned to death. ”Her act could bring about an epidemic. It could be contagious and give ideas to other women. It is therefore necessary to isolate [the incident]. I wish her to be healed.”

There were rumors that her family had her locked up in an asylum. Such is the life of millions of Muslim girls that want to be free in Islamic society.

Thankfully, Amina’s story went viral and gained international attention. One of the more outrageous reactions was from the Ukraine-based feminist group, Femen, who staged a Topless Jihad Day, to stand in solidarity with Amina. It’s not what I would do but I loved the moxie and in-your-face action to call worldwide attention to misogyny under Muslim rule. These feminist activists  held “International Topless Jihad Day” in major European cities including Berlin, Kiev and Paris. They painted their bodies with slogans such as, “bare breasts against Islamism,” and they protested outside of mosques in various cities.

“We’re free, we’re naked, it’s our right, it’s our body, it’s our rules, and nobody can use religion, and some other holy things, to abuse women, to oppress them,” Femen member Alexandra Shevchenko said while demonstrating outside a Berlin mosque in freezing temperatures.

Finally, a well publicized response to the crushing subjugation of women under the sharia. But what happened next was ……. unforgivable. Reminiscent of the Muslim women who hold down their daughters for FGM (clitordectony), a group of Muslim women came out against the Amina Tyler supporters. “Muslim Women Against Femen” was formed to show that Femen “does not speak for all members of their community.”

The members of Muslim Women Against Femen encouraged other self defeating supporters to participate in Muslimah Pride Day. They are posting pictures of themselves on social media (see below) declaring that they are not oppressed. Well, bully for them. Are they really that selfish? Self absorbed? Inhuman?

If they are not oppressed then this campaign has nothing to do with them.

Millions of women under Muslim rule are oppressed like Amina Tyler and suffer unspeakable brutality under the honor violence code of Islam. What about them? How can these Muslimahs turn their back on their sisters?

“Muslim Women Against Femen” may very well choose to wear the niqab or burka or hijab but that is their choice. They can wear purple hair for all we care. But what about the millions of Muslimah who are forced to wear it? What about the millions of Muslimahs forced into marriage, beaten or honor killed?

The utter disregard of these Muslimahs for the fate of their sisters in other lands is either a depraved lack of humanity or a strange Stockholm syndrome. The mission statement of these supremacists is; “Muslim women who want to expose FEMEN for the Islamophobes/Imperialists that they are. We are making our voices heard and reclaiming our agency!”

This exclusive self-reference, typically encountered among adolescents, accounts for the scorched earth policy of Islamic supremacists. These Muslim women have no interest in the fate of Muslimahs victimized by the sharia because what happens to those unfortunate Muslimahs has no impact on the daily life or goals of Islamic imperialists.

Why are these Muslim women fighting those who wish to help Muslim women?  FEMEN were not demanding Muslimahs remove their cloth coffins or head pieces.  They were tyring to help the oppressed.

Here’s the thing – this whole “Muslim Women Against Femen” is based on a false premise. Nobody is stopping these girls/women from wearing  head and body coverings. But what about women who don’t have the liberty to choose. That’s the point.

Who is an ‘Islamist’ and Why it Matters

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

The Associated Press has decided that the word “Islamist” may not be used to describe anything objectionable.  The Jewish Press’s Lori Lowenthal Marcus calls out the relevant passage from the news service’s newly revised stylebook:

[An Islamist is] an advocate of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam.  Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.

Hmmm.  It’s an interesting question who will be called an Islamist by A.P. writers, given this definition.

Who is an Islamist?

Presumably, Mohammed Morsi could be called an Islamist by the A.P. – unless the second sentence above cancels out the first, making it impossible to call anyone an “Islamist.” And maybe that’s the case; if so, defining “Islamist” is an exercise in futility for the A.P.

But will Morsi be called an Islamist?  By the letter of the A.P. definition, being labeled an Islamist would put Morsi in company with Hamas, the Iranian clerical council, and the Taliban.  He belongs there, of course, but will that association be considered politically correct, given that the U.S. government is committed to Morsi’s success, and continues to deliver arms to him?

Hamas and the Taliban are terrorist organizations, but are or have been government authorities as well (the latter aspiring to be one again), reordering government and society precisely in accordance with laws they deem to be prescribed by Islam.  Iran’s leaders sponsor terrorism, as well as doing the reordering thing in the name of Islam.

In fact, Hizballah fits the bill as well, being a terrorist organization which currently governs Lebanon.  Among this terrorist-governing group, Hizballah may have made the least effort to reorder government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam.  But then, Hizballah governs a tiny, fractious, all-but-ungovernable nation with mostly porous borders, and in that role has been more concerned since January 2011 with holding power than with remaking society.  Does that mean there is some meaningful sense in which Hezbollah is not “Islamist” – even though it proclaims sharia and holds its political goals in common with Hamas and Iran (and has considerable overlap with Morsi in Egypt)?

Perhaps the seemingly narrow A.P. definition of “Islamist” is meant to ensure that only those who advocate Islamism from the more consensual environment of Western liberal societies will meet it.  This proposition will run into its own set of troubles, however, partly because radicals like Britain’s Anjem Choudary, who have been, so to speak, the face of Islamism in the West, might be considered ineligible for the title due to their explosively radical demeanor.  If Choudary isn’t an Islamist, who is?

That remains a good question, considering that other, more mainstream Western organizations may have ties through their leadership, like CAIR’s, to the Muslim Brotherhood and even terrorist groups, but they do not overtly propose to reorder government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam.  Does that mean they are not Islamist?  And if not, what does that mean?

At present, CAIR’s efforts are not focused directly on reordering government and society, but rather on undermining one of the essential pillars of Western civilization: unfettered pursuit of the truth – about radical Islam as about anything else.  Government agencies, with their top-down institutional pieties, are an easy target for outright censorship in this regard.

The A.P. Stylebook revision is something different, and perhaps more insidious.  Presumably, an A.P. writer would not refer to CAIR’s involvement in redefining “Islamist” as a method of Islamism, although it is one.  And, in fairness, there is a good case to be made that rewriting definitions for political reasons is something the Western left requires no prompting to do.  Need it be “Islamist” to define categories prejudicially?  It certainly doesn’t have to be “Islamist” to label anyone whose arguments you don’t like a “racist.”  The Western left thought that one up all on its own.

The lack of firm ground to stand on in this analysis is quintessential in the propositions of radicals.  Corruption and politicization of the language are common radical tactics.  Whom, exactly, can an A.P. writer call an Islamist, given all these factors?  The antiseptic definition of Islamism approved by CAIR might apply only to Islamic theoreticians who never actually engage in political advocacy – if there are any.

Geller Submits Anti-Islamist Ads to MTA Rebutting Hate Israel Ads

Friday, March 29th, 2013

The American Freedom Defense Initiative, the group that brought you subway ads equating Muslims to savages, is hoping to install yet another round of anti-Islamist posters, this time at Metro-North stations.

Pamela Geller, NYC’s most outspoken Islamophobe and executive director of the AFDI, submitted the ads to the MTA Tuesday.

Geller’s ads are in response to a pro-Palestinian campaign by American Muslims for Palestine, which hit Metro-North stations on Monday, the first day of Passover.

The posters use a quote from Nobel Peace Prize recipient Desmond Tutu comparing Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to apartheid in South Africa.

The new campaign will feature the headline: “This is Islamic apartheid” above disturbing images, including one with two blindfolded men about to be hanged with nooses.

The caption below reads: “Gay under Islamic law (Sharia).”

Due to a previous court ruling that required the agency to post Geller’s other anti-Muslim ads, the new posters are expected to be approved.

The MTA, however, will likely include a prominent disclaimer on the ads that reads, “This is a paid advertisement sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative. The display of this advertisement does not imply MTA’s endorsement of any views expressed.”

Geller wrote of the ads in a blog post:

This anti-Israel ad is exactly the technique that Hitler’s minions used. If you read the writings of Goebbels, the Nazi narrative was that they were the victims. They were the put-upon ones. That’s how they sold annihilation. And this is the same thing. It’s not surprising that Islamic supremacists would appropriate the propaganda methods of the Third Reich, as they partnered with Hitler and shared the same goal.

 

Erdoğan’s Decade

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has served longer than any person as prime minister of the Republic of Turkey, recently marked his completion of a full decade in that office, having entered it on March 14, 2003.

Born in February 1954, he is now 59 years old. And while he has a potentially long political career ahead of him, he reportedly suffers from some serious ailments that could cut it short.

Erdoğan’s main challenges are three-fold: an electorate increasingly wary of his domineering ways, an ever-more restive Kurdish population, and a problematic regional alignment in which, as Ian O. Lesser put it in analysis published yesterday, “Ankara faces some troubling cold wars, new and old, that will shape the strategic environment and the nature of Turkey’s security partnerships.”

The only comparable figure in modern Turkish history is Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the republic and dominant figure. It is reasonable to see Erdoğan as the anti-Atatürk, the leader who seeks to undo substantial parts of his predecessor’s legacy, especially his rejection of Shari’a, or Islamic law. One can also see Erdoğan as the politician who turns Islamism into a nearly viable political program.

Westerners have been conspicuously slow in understanding just what a threat Erdoğan presents; one can only hope that his second decade will prompt more understanding than the first.

Originally published as “Erdoğan’s Decade as Prime Minister of Turkey” at DanielPipes.org and The National Review Online, The Corner, March 14, 2013.

The Western Left Abandons the Arab Left

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Originally published by Rubin Reports.

OH! pleasant exercise of hope and joy! For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood Upon our side, we who were strong in love! Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!–Oh! times, In which the meager, stale, forbidding ways Of custom, law, and statute, took at once The attraction of a country in romance! –William Wordsworth, Poem on the French Revolution, 1789 A decent but very leftist British Middle East expert once described for me his experience in Iran in 1979. As a leftist, he had discounted any idea that Islamists might take over the country before the revolution, dismissing them as insignificant. But then he supported the revolution against the “reactionary, pro-Western” shah.

He had many friends among Iranian leftists. Quickly, he went to Tehran and scheduled meetings at the leftist newspaper established after the revolution. The newspaper was named with the Persian word for dawn, recalling—intentionally or not I have no idea—the words of another revolutionary romantic quoted above.

As he arrived, however, a cordon of revolutionary Islamist police held him back. The supporters of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini were busy closing down the newspaper, ransacking the office, and dragging the journalists away to prison. The enthusiastic supporters of revolution, betrayed by their allies (Wordsworth’s “auxiliars,”) were discovering that it wasn’t their revolution at all. The “meager, stale, forbidding” laws and customs were coming back with a vengeance.

The left may believe itself to be “strong in love” but the Islamists have got the guns, money, organization, and the willingness (even eagerness) to kill for power.

This was not the first time in history such things happened. And now with the “Arab Spring” it won’t be the last either.

The leftist forces in the Arabic-speaking world as relatively weak but they can be disproportionately significant, especially in Egypt, Syria, and Tunisia. While Arab liberals have often been implicitly secular-oriented, it has been the leftists, Marxists to some degree, who have been militantly outspoken.

In recent years, though, the Arab left has also hitched its star to the far more powerful Islamists, reasoning that they, too, were against the regime and the West. “After Hitler, us,” over-optimistic German Communists proclaimed in 1932. In a sense, they were right since after the Third Reich’s fall the Soviets would make the survivors the puppet rulers of East Germany. But that’s not the scenario they had in mind.

Now Arab leftists are repeating that pattern. In Egypt, the left provided a youthful, pseudo-democratic cover at the revolution’s beginning that fooled the Western governments, journalists, and “experts.” Now the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t need them anymore.

Here’s a small example of that. The Egyptian leftist newspaper is al-Tahrir and its editor is Ibrahim Issa. He is now being investigated by the government prosecutor on charges of ridiculing the Quran and Sharia law as well as mocking Islam. Soon, people are going to be shot by Salafist terrorists on the basis of such accusations. For now, they just face trials and possible jail time.

What is worth noting is that just about anyone—in this case, as usual, it was an Islamist lawyer—can urge that charges be made against people who say something that offends the Islamists.

I was fascinated by one of the statements that got Issa in trouble. It was a very typical leftist theme whose equivalent is used about every five minutes in the United States and every day in these times by Obama Administration officials. Issa sarcastically remarked that if someone steals a wallet Sharia mandates that their hand be cut off but for stealing millions the punishment is far less harsh.

Issa certainly has guts. He was once sentenced to death under the Mubarak regime, and then pardoned by that dictator. But now there has been a supposed democratic revolution.

If the opposition cannot make such non-theological points how can it criticize Sharia and Islamist rule at all? And while Issa may be defiant, most will be deterred from speaking out or acting by fear of punishment. A common mistake is to think that repression is aimed at silencing courageous critics. Not really. It is intended—and usually works—in getting a far larger number of bystanders to shut up.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/the-western-left-abandons-the-arab-left/2013/01/28/

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