practices of the National Australia Bank
A report on ABC’s Lateline program recently has brought to the fore something which I have been talking about recently: Islamic finance coming to Australia. According to Ali Moore, Islamic banking is one of the fastest growing sectors in finance, fueled by petro-dollars and with Australia being near the hub of Islamic banking for the Asia-Pacific – Malaysia, there seems to be growing pressure on Australian financial institutions to cash in on the “halal dollar”.
Islamic banking works on the principle of risk sharing, as interest, referred to as “usary” is forbidden in Islamic or Shari’a law. This aspect of Islam is used to persuade non-Muslims into thinking that Islamic finance is somehow fairer than normal financial arrangements. This is the aspect that is most concerning. Muslims are waging a multi-tiered Jihad against Australians. At the bottom level there are various “peace and harmony forums”, infiltration and co-opting of mainstream Christian churches, then there is infiltration that reaches all the way up to high level financial institutions such as the National Australia Bank (NAB).
The concern is that while residents have some very small measure of redress against a Development Application (DA) for an Islamic school for example, there is nothing anybody can do in regards to Shari’a banking. Providing it follows all of the rules and regulations in Australia, it will become just another financial product. The sting in the tail is that it represents the imposition of Shari’a law in a secular society. And make no mistake, Islamic Banking is an expression of Shari’a law, a concept developed by the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood for the purposes of spreading the law of Allah throughout the world.
Timur Kuran, author of “Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism” states that Islamic banking is only a recent development. Hassan Al Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, created the idea as a vehicle by which Islamic law could be propagated as well as being a way of uniting the Muslim ummah. The origins of the Muslim Brotherhood itself can be traced back to Nazi Germany during the 1920’s. The relationship started after Al Banna had started writing letters to Adolf Hitler and after Hitler’s ascension to power, he sent a representative of German intelligence to Egypt to assist Al-Banna to become the Arab intelligence arm of the Third Reich.
The Muslim Brotherhood have been involved in the assassination of Egyptian presidents and are outlawed as a terrorist organization throughout much of the Middle East. The stated aim of the founder is to “[reclaim] Islam’s manifest destiny; an empire, founded in the seventh century, that stretched from Spain to Indonesia.” Islamic banking is one of the ways through which the Muslim Brotherhood aims to reclaim that destiny.
How Islamic banking works
In Islam the giving or receiving of interest, sometimes referred to as usury, is strictly forbidden as laid out in the Qur’an:
[2:275] Those who charge usury are in the same position as those controlled by the devil’s influence. This is because they claim that usury is the same as commerce. However, GOD permits commerce, and prohibits usury. Thus, whoever heeds this commandment from his Lord, and refrains from usury, he may keep his past earnings, and his judgment rests with GOD. As for those who persist in usury, they incur Hell, wherein they abide forever.
In Arabic the word used in the Qur’an for interest or usury is Riba. Riba literally means “to grow” or “to add too”, however English translations use usury, not interest, in place of riba. Usury has a different meaning than interest, usury is usually defined as excessive or exploitative interest where as a modest amount of interest is a way to generate profit from the lending of money.
Because Mohammad died before being able to fully explain the meaning of riba, there is debate within Islamic economic jurisprudence on exactly what riba entails. Some suggest the it refers specifically to usury and that charging a modest interest rate (euphemistically referred to as “commission”) that is in line with the markets is halal (permitted), while others say that any addition to the principle at all is considered riba and therefore haraam (forbidden) and is considered a sin worse than rape.
Modern Islamic banks though they claim not to charge interest (or usury) simply provide (fixed rate interest) “loan” packages. While it is forbidden to charge interest, buying and then selling at a profit is permitted. This is the crux of how Islamic loans work. For example, if you wish to buy a motor vehicle worth $10,000, the bank will purchase the vehicle on your behalf then resell it to you for $14,000. This is legal in Islam providing they are two separate transactions.
Of course, if one were too break down the final payment amount, one would find that bank has pre-calculated their desired interest, added it to the principle then resold the vehicle to the debtor at that higher price. It has been found that Islamic mortgages are actually a few percentage points above the market rate, so non-Muslims who are attracted to the idea of an Islamic loan purely on the basis that they think they will escape interest payments should think again and most definitely read the fine print on any such agreement. The devil they say, is in the detail.
The other important feature of Islamic banking is that it is governed by special bodies known as a Sharia Supervisory Board (SSB) consisting of Imams who supervise the lending practices of the bank to ensure they remain at all times compliant with Shari’a. In this way we see how Islamic banking can be used to extend Shari’a law by stealth, extending the reach of orthodox Islam:
‘Islamic banks have a major responsibility to shoulder ….all the staff of such banks and customers dealing with them must be reformed Islamically and act within the framework of an Islamic formula, so that any person approaching an Islamic bank should be given the impression that he is entering a sacred place to perform a religious ritual, that is the use and employment of capital for what is acceptable and satisfactory to God.’
(Janachi, 1995. p.42 / Corporate governance in Islamic banks ).
Nasser M.Suleiman in his article “Corporate governance in Islamic banks”, describes the primary purpose of an Islamic institution as being “an Islamic organisation must server God. It must develop a distinctive corporate culture, the main purpose of which is to create a collective morality and spirituality which, when combined with the production of goods and services, sustains the growth and advancement of the Islamic way of life.”
Sharia Supervisory Board
The SSB is formed by a body of Islamic scholars or Imams. In some cases the institution may be supervised by a sole Imam, in both cases the individual(s) must be qualified to issue fatwa’s ( religious rulings ) on Islamic economic jurisprudence. The role of the board is to ensure that the institution complies with all aspects of Shari’a law in regards to financial transactions. This generally means that those who constitute the SSB will be orthodox or fundamentalist Muslims.
Helena Christofi in her article on Islamic finance in Britain gives a good insight into the insidious nature of Islamic banking and some of the individuals who sit on SSB’s:
London is the leading Islamic banking center in the West. Islamist clerics with terrorist connections and a mission to Islamize Europe are infiltrating the United Kingdom through its banking system, and British officials are encouraging them. HSBC, Lloyds TSB, and Citigroup have opened Islamic banking units and branches throughout England. In 2005 the first stand-alone British Islamic bank, Islamic Bank of Britain, opened its doors. Middle Eastern Islamic banks have also set up shop in the UK.
Sheik Yousef Al-Qaradawi, a leading Sunni cleric, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and instigator and financier of terrorism in Europe and the Middle East, heads the fundamentalist European Council for Fatwa and Research, several of whose most prominent members sit on every major British Islamic bank’s shari’a board. Both Al-Qaradawi and the Council have expressed their hope that “Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror” by way of “preaching and ideology” or “by the sword.”
“Perhaps the next conquest [of Europe], Allah willing, will be by means of preaching and ideology. The conquest need not necessarily be by the sword […] Europe will see that it suffers from materialistic culture, and will seek an alternative […] It will find no lifesaver but the message of Islam […] Allah willing, Islam will return to Europe and the Europeans will convert to Islam. Then they themselves will be able to be the ones to disseminate Islam in the world.” ( quoting Al-Qaradawi )
So clearly the intent is to use Islamic banking as a way on insinuating Islam into the West as intended by the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. It also allows fundamentalist Muslims to supervise such institutions thus legitimising their role within the Islamic community. This allows them to take on other roles outside of the scope of the SSB and thus allows them an avenue to advance their fundamentalist ideology.
Islamic banking in Australia.
No mainstream banking institution within Australia currently offers Shari’a banking although there at least two Shari’a credit unions, MCCA (Muslim Community Co-operative, Australia) and MCCU (Muslim Community Credit Union). Because these institutions offer halal banking services, this in effect means that Shari’a law is now operating within Australia, though in a limited scope.
The MCCA of course has it’s own SSB and promotes the fact on its website including a video ( not yet available ) that demonstrates it’s Shari’a compliance. The MCCA has two Islamic scholars on its SSB, Dr Mohamad Daud Bakar and Dr Ibrahim Abu Muhammad. The former is also an expert on Islamic medical law(!) and the latter earned his PhD from Al-Azhar University, from which most of the Islamic jurisprudence in the Middle East is derived.
Al-Azhar University has an interesting past. It is the university where Haj Amin al-Husseini studied Islamic law. Haj Amin al-Husseini of course is famous for his collusion with the Nazi regime during World War 2. Al-Azhar University also has a long history of issuing Islamic judgments on various aspects of Shari’a: