A Shariah-compliant co-op in Australia is being billed as an “ethical” alternative for investors, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
This is typical of the marketing and public relations efforts surrounding Shariah finance. Members of the industry itself openly discuss ways of marketing Shariah Finance to non-Muslim investors as “ethical investing” while excluding any reference to Shariah or Islam in associated materials. I heard this with my own ears at a shameful conference on Shariah Finance at Harvard University back in April 2008.
This method of marketing is itself unethical based on two aspects:
1. It is intentionally misleading to omit references to Shariah and Islam when discussing Shariah-Compliant Finance.
2. Some of the “ethical” aspects of Shariah Finance aren’t really ethical at all. For instance, promoters of Shariah Finance often boast that they do not invest in companies involved in “weaponry.” This is actually a smokescreen. If a company sells weaponry to an Islamic nation, that is not considered haram under Shariah at all. Most of these prohibitions against companies that sell weaponry target companies that sell weaponry to Western nations.
The article linked below also discusses another misleading aspect of Shariah Finance which we often harp on here at SFW. About 3/4 of the way down the article, the reader is treated to this false statement:
“How did Islamic banks perform during the global financial crisis?
Islamic banking and finance fared very well during the GFC. They were left almost unscathed because they are not attached to the debt markets. They continued to profit from their asset-based transactions.
They enjoyed higher asset, deposit, equity and profit growth than conventional banks. This has provided a catalyst for economic stability in the respective economies.”
We have been over this many times, so we will post a link to our latest efforts to refute this false claim by the promoters of Shariah:
Of course, all of this should be considered against the backdrop of the fact that Shariah itself is the underlying doctrine behind “Islamic finance” and Shariah is about a lot more than just avoiding interest on investments and pork. Yet, articles like the one linked below from The Australian always seem to completely miss that point. There is seldom any intellectual curiosity on the part of Western “journalists” about the true nature of Shariah and why promoters of “Islamic finance” never want to provide full disclosure…