Press Release: Center for Security Policy Questions Shariah in Academia
April 14, 2008 Business Wire
WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–This weekend (April 19 & 20), the Islamic Finance Project of the Harvard University Law School’s Islamic Legal Studies Program will present the Eighth Harvard University Forum on Islamic Finance in Boston, MA. The Center for Security Policy has challenged Harvard on the grounds that this Forum will provide NO information about the serious risks that Shariah-Compliant Finance (SCF) poses for U.S. financial institutions, ordinary post-9/11 investors and the national security of the United States of America.
To counter this silence on the true nature of Shariah, and to expose the risks of Shariah-Compliant Finance, the Center for Security Policy will present a lunchtime panel discussion on Thursday, April 17 from 12:00 – 1:00 PM in Pound Hall, Room 107, Harvard University, 1563 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge. Media is invited to attend. Sandwiches and drinks will be provided.
The Center has also requested that the Islamic Finance Project provide an opportunity on April 19th or 20th for the Center to present a more complete and critical analysis of Shariah-Compliant Finance to the entire group of Forum participants. Copies of the Center’s legal memorandum on Shariah-Compliant Finance risks, and a request to present at the Forum, have also been sent to the Harvard seven-member governing board, and to the thirty-member Board of Overseers. Harvard has yet to respond to the Center’s request.
According to Center President Frank Gaffney, Harvard’s Islamic Finance Project has been the primary U.S. academic institution for over a decade lending legitimacy and even legality to Shariah-Compliant Finance, without disclosing material facts about the authoritarian law of Shariah.
Over the last two months, the Center for Security Policy has briefed officials at the U.S. Treasury, Members of Congress and their staff, the Securities and Exchange Commission, law enforcement personnel, and finance industry executives on their in-depth legal analysis of Shariah Compliant Finance using the aforementioned legal memorandum entitled: “Civil Liability and Criminal Exposure for U.S. Financial Institutions and Businesses Engaged in Shariah-Compliant Finance” (a shorter version of which will be published in the Utah Law Review in Sept. 2008). This memorandum shows U.S. businesses may have criminal and civil exposure on the grounds of: securities fraud, consumer fraud, racketeering, antitrust violations, material support for terrorism and aiding and abetting sedition.
Accordingly, the Center for Security Policy intends to announce the launch of a national campaign intended to educate and awaken Americans to the real dangers associated with Shariah law and Shariah-Compliant Finance. This campaign will also promote alternative approaches.
Gaffney warned that the dangers of Shariah-Compliant Finance are growing rapidly. “The current credit crisis and a failure to understand the true nature and implications of SCF are prompting an increasing number of financial institutions in the United States to offer SCF products as an easy solution. As a general rule, they appear to be doing so on the basis of one-sided presentations like those typical of the Harvard Islamic Finance Forum – without adequate due-diligence or regard for legal compliance. This willful blindness, and the attendant lack of transparency for investors, may cause Shariah-Compliant Finance to be the next financial time bomb set to explode.”
“The most serious problem with SCF is that it legitimates and institutionalizes Shariah (i.e., Islamic law), a repressive, totalitarian theo-political doctrine violently opposed to Western values,” Gaffney further adds. “That doctrine is not to be confused with the private, pietistic religious practice by Muslims for whom “Shariah” is a personal path to God, an expression of faith and devotion consistent with a separation of church (or mosque) and state. Instead, the Shariah to which Western finance is being encouraged to comply is a seamless, indivisible program exemplified and ruthlessly practiced by the governments of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan and the Taliban in Afghanistan.”
Gaffney also noted that: “We have put Harvard University on notice that the fundamental purpose of authoritarian Shariah law is the establishment of a world-wide hegemony, a caliphate, under which that legal system is imposed on Muslims and non-Muslims alike. In other words, Shariah law has, among its goals, the destruction of our Constitutional government and basic liberties. Both the Shariah finance advisory boards and Shariah-compliant charitable contributions have links to jihadism.”
“Unfortunately, Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist promoters of Shariah-Compliant Finance have regarded it as merely another tool to advance their agenda. Some have even called it ‘financial Jihad.’ Every American should be aware of the potential danger to the national security and national economy from this ‘financial Jihad.’”
The Center for Security Policy calls on Harvard University to ensure full disclosure of the true nature of Shariah law and to afford all attendees at its Islamic Banking program have an opportunity to learn about the associated risks.
The Center for Security Policy is a Washington, D.C. based non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security and then ensures that such issues are the subject of both focused, principled examination and effective action by recognized policy experts, appropriate officials, opinion leaders, and the general public.

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