Christopher Logan of Islam in Action blog had an interesting exchange with Stephen Lange Ranzini, president of the infamous University Bank in Michigan, a Shariah-Compliant institution.

Logan wrote to Ranzini and expressed his offense at University Bank promoting the barbaric doctrine called Shariah here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Ranzini’s reply to Logan’s confrontational, yet brilliantly simple message reminds me of a character on the old Batman television series called The Riddler. Or was it The Joker? It’s been a long time since I watched Batman, but I do recall that neither The Riddler nor The Joker was a good guy.

Ranzini goes into a convoluted explanation of usury and religion through the years and explains why University Bank doesn’t serve alcohol at its functions, and ends by also explaining why the bank doesn’t have a Christmas party any more. (Get THIS: It’s because they don’t want to PROMOTE ANY RELIGION! LOL!)

First of all, and most obviously, by being Shariah-Compliant and marketing themselves as such, University Bank is absolutely promoting religion and, specifically, they are promoting the Islamic doctrine known as Shariah. That is the whole purpose of Shariah Finance.

As we have now mentioned at least twice, Muslim leaders at the World Islamic Economic Forum in Jakarta last week referred to Shariah Finance as “missionary work.” It doesn’t get any plainer than that. Perhaps Mr. Ranzini actually believes that he isn’t promoting Shariah, it’s impossible to get inside of his head. But if he does believe that, he is absolutely mistaken.

I might also add that I do not drink alcohol and I have managed to avoid alcohol without turning to Shariah or any other creepy doctrinal system that also involves things like Jihad, female genital mutilation, polygamy, child marriage and the hatred of puppies.

Finally, Ranzini’s convoluted treatise on usury is simply odd, seeing as in most religions a ban against usury is not defined as the total absence of interest. In fact, some Muslims even point out that the original bans on usury in the Quran do not equate to bans on interest. Nevertheless, we should point out that, despite the ban on interest that things like Shariah mortgages profess to observe, they actually replace that interest with a carefully constructed series of fees and charges which the IRS views enough like interest to allow the interest deduction on mortgages for income tax purposes.

I would like to see Logan ask Ranzini if his customers take an interest deduction on those Shariah mortgages.

I would also like to see what Ranzini has to say about zakat! Where do University Islamic Bank’s zakat payments go? Who makes those decisions?

One of them is Sheikh Yusuf DeLorenzo, who is listed atop University Bank’s Shariah advisory board. After dropping out of college at Cornell and leaving America in his late teens, DeLorenzo’s training was entirely in Deobandi Islam. He studied at a madrassa called Jamia Uloom Islamia in Binori Town, Karachi, Pakistan. 

According to a study of Karachi madrassas by the International Crisis Group (ICG), a human rights think tank in Brussels, the Jamia Islamia is the “fountainhead of Deobandi militancy countrywide” and “boasts close ties with the Taliban.”

Later, DeLorenzo served as an advisor on Islamic education in the administration of Pakistani strong man Zia ul-Haq, the man who put together the network of madrassas that eventually produced the Taliban and other militant groups, such as Harkat ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e Muhammad, and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan. General Zia oversaw the Islamization of Pakistan and the country’s subsequent, inevitable decline.

More recently, here in the United States, DeLorenzo served as the Director of Education of the Islamic Saudi Academy in northern Virginia, a school that issued textbooks promoting the Shariah practices of killing adulterers and Muslim apostates.

Perhaps most troubling for Mr. Ranzini at University Bank, DeLorenzo made some pretty revealing statements in a recent article in Foreign Policy magazine in which he admits that Shariah-Compliant Finance is in fact a means of spreading Islam.

So, Ranzini’s own top Shariah advisor disagrees with his assertion that University Bank does not promote religion. 

Here is a link to the whole article, plus a movie. Get out your popcorn!


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