hat tip-Margo I.
Ehrenfeld said: “Whatever Muslims buy, they buy “in trust for Allah.” Once it belongs to Allah, it doesn’t matter who they sell it to, because they can always claim it as a Muslim property.”Rachel Ehrenfeld states.
By Jerry Gordon, American Congress for Truth blog
Yesterday, a press conference was held at Harvard Law School (HLS) to protest the Eighth Annual Harvard Islamic Finance Project (HIFP) program this weekend, April 19th and 20th in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The press conference was sponsored by Harvard Students for Israel. The ‘Stop Sharia Now.org ‘ associated with Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy issued a news release at the press conference and responded to questions. Hillel Stavis author of the recent FrontPageMagazine article “A Shilling for Sharia” was present. The irony was that Professor Noah Feldman, the subject of Stavis’s article, was teaching a class in the same building as this press conference. Feldman has now become the ‘go to guy’ on Sharia law at HLS.
With trillions of petro dollars up for recycling from Saudi and Gulf Emirate sheikdom sovereign wealth funds, and the glittering fees to be earned by investment bankers ,fresh from creating the deepening global credit crisis, makes this eighth HIFP conference a ‘must attend’ presentation.
The HIFP is now formally part of the Islamic Legal Studies Program (ILSP) at HLS. It is co-headed by Professors Frank Vogel of the Law School and Samuel Hayes, III, the venerable doyenne of investment banking at the Harvard Business School. HIFP has a large contingent of research and support staff indicating significant funding.
The annual HIFP conference is sponsored by a major world bank, HSBC-Amanah-its global Sharia finance unit, the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). KIA became a significant equity owner in floundering Merrill Lynch when it invested $6.6 billion in January. Merrill announced first quarter losses of nearly $2.0 billion occasioned by the subprime mortgage debacle. Merrill will have to raise more capital from groups like KIA having burned through most of its capital raised in 2007. ADIA had invested over $7.5 billion for a 12 percent equity interest in troubled Citigroup that released adverse 1st quarter results of over $5 billion in losses today which might result in a drawdown of another ADIA financing.
Stavis drew my attention to a Shariah adviser to the HSBC – Amanah sponsor of the HIFP event, Mohammed Taqi Usmani. Usmani is a Pakistani Sharia jurist who was formerly head of the Jihadist Deobandism sect that spawned the Taliban. Usmani, is the author of a tract entitled, “Islam and Modernism” and fond of such bon mots regarding Jihad as “the killings must go on”.
Stavis noted that typically Shariah compliant funds or investments devote 3 to 5% of income to Muslim charities or Zakat. However, he said it can easily reach between 7 to 8%, if authorized by the Sharia governing boards. That increased allotment could be tied cynically to Shariah approval of a so-called ‘purification’ process to ‘launder’ interest payments.
That means that there is an indeterminate flow of Islamic charity funds to possible Islamist terrorist front groups. Neither Stavis opined that neither the HIFP, nor the HILSP offered any ‘due diligence services’ to unwary investment banks endeavoring to complete Shariah compliant funding deals. Given the track record of Wall Street on the subprime debacle, that shouldn’t surprise us.
Stavis and I commiserated about some of the large investments in Sharia REITS that have made corporate property acquisitions including the GM Building in Manhattan. That reminded me of a recent conversation with Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, who recounted an encounter with a Jewish group who held a conference at one of the Mandarin Hotels in Manhattan. She recalled telling the leaders of the sponsoring group at the Manhattan event that the owners of the hotel chain were Gulf Sheiks. She noted that unlike the big turnover in high end US corporate properties by major Japanese holding groups that I had witnessed as an investment banker in the 1980’s, Muslim realty investments are different. Ehrenfeld said: “Whatever Muslims buy, they buy “in trust for Allah.” Once it belongs to Allah, it doesn’t matter who they sell it to, because they can always claim it as a Muslim property.”
Sharia finance is rising to the fore, and protests like the one at HLS against the HIFP are simply bothersome pinpricks to the hungry wolves of the investment banking community and corporate finance lawyers dabbling in Shariah compliant transactions. It is all about the money. Big money.
It is time for Congress to create legislation to have our Treasury review these Shariah compliant transactions. Further, US counter terrorism agencies should vett Sharia advisers like Jihadist Usmani, as well as, those beneficiaries of Zakat-Islamic charities. Given the Federal Holy Land Foundation trial evidence, the ultimate beneficiaries could include Islamist terror groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad.