In the Reuters story on IHT, a sharia scholar, Mufti Abdul Kadir Barkatullah, was quoted as saying that Islamic banking regulations generally require investors to be “very prudent and careful with your money, and you only put your money to very good uses.”
In April of this year, the director of the Center for Security Policy’s Sharia Risk Due Diligence Project happened to attend a celebratory conference at on Islamic finance at which Mufti Barkatullah was a featured speaker and panelist. At that conference, a publication was given to all attendees: a supplement to the November, 2007 issue of “The Banker” in the UK entitled “TOP 500 .”
That supplement was very revealing in that its feature article was entitled “Iran dominates in the world of sharia compliance.” In fact, according to The Banker, Iran alone has more sharia-compliant assets than all of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Pakistan combined.
The rankings in The Banker supplement also contained information that would seem to run counter to Mufti Barkatullah’s assertion that under sharia-compliant finance “you only put your money to very good uses.” (Or perhaps this DOESN’T run counter to his assertion, which is even more worrying…).
According to The Banker supplement, the world’s top sharia-compliant financial institution is of Iran, headquartered in Tehran.
Number 2 on the list of all sharia-compliant financial institutions in the world is Bank Saderat of Iran, also headquartered in Tehran.
Number 5 on the list of all sharia-compliant financial institutions in the world isof Iran, again, also headquartered in Tehran.
Number 8 on the list of sharia-compliant financial institutions in the world isof Iran, also out of Tehran.
Number 11 is Bank Sepah of Tehran.
What do all of these sharia-compliant financial institutions have in common?
They are all under US and/or EU sanctions for ties to financing Iran’s weapons programs and terrorist activities.
Is that a “very good use?” I guess it depends on one’s perspective.