Exclusive: Are We Financing Our Own Demise?

by GADI ADELMAN, JOY BRIGHTON March 2, 2010
What is Sharia Compliant Finance (SCF)?  This is the question I seem to be hearing all too often. As I had explained in my article “One Nation under Allah,” “Sharia deals with all aspects of day-to-day life, from family issues to sexuality, hygiene, politics, economics, banking, business, contracts and social issues, and more.”
 
Put simply, Sharia is the law of the land in Iran and Sudan and for groups such as the Taliban, al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah. Allow me to refresh your memory on the “religion of peace.”  According to “The Reliance of the Traveler, the classic manual of Islamic sacred law” which is considered the authoritative Sunni Sharia rulebook, the following is a selection of some Sharia laws:
  • Offensive, military Jihad is a religious obligation.
  • Inferior status for all non-Muslims (known as “dhimma”).
  • Capital punishment for slandering Islam.
  • Capital punishment for apostasy (leaving Islam).
  • Women may not leave the house without husbands’ permission; beating disobedient women, polygamy, forced child marriage, and stoning of adulterers are permitted.
  • Slavery is legal.
  • Lying (“taqiyya”) to infidels is permitted.
  • Capital punishment for homosexuals and lesbians.
Just as Sharia is not about religion, but rather politics and power, Sharia banking is not about banking: it is about politics, economics, and power – which explains why Iran was the first and remains the only one of two countries in the world today (Sudan being the second) that mandates 100 percent Sharia banking. When Khomeini deposed the Shah in 1978, secular law and human rights went out and Sharia law, oppression and zealot mullahs came into every aspect of life, including the banking system. Prior to 1978, the entire world including the Middle East practiced traditional, Western banking. Today, Iran remains the market leader in Sharia Finance and the market leader in terror finance and terror in general. 
 
Would AIG, Citigroup, Dow Jones, HSBC, UBS, Visa and Mastercard have become involved with something called Apartheid Finance? Or Nazi Finance?  Of course not.  So why are they involved with Sharia Finance? Have these firms stopped reading the newspapers? Don’t they know that Sharia-driven Iran is building nuclear weapons and funding the Sharia-driven Taliban who is killing our own young men and women soldiers? Or that our President is putting economic sanctions on Sharia-driven Iran?
 
Or is it just all about the money? Oil money generates Sharia investment fees and Sharia trading commissions, and sells Sharia insurance policies with fat premiums.
 
But the danger to our national security is this: the hallmark of Iranian Banking (i.e., Sharia banking) is the hiring of mullahs or sheiks in order to have some control over banking practices and the mandate to send some profits off to “Sharia charities” (a process known as Zakat). Hiring Sharia sheiks gives these groups standing in the banking world and brands “Sharia” as perfectly ethical. Sending money to charity? What could be more ethical, and everyone is concerned about ethics these days.
 
Wrong. Four of the most sought-after “Sharia authorities” in the industry, listed below, reads like a Who’s Who of Terrorists. They all sit on the board of the AAOIFI (Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions) or the board of IFSB (Islamic Finance Standards Board). And guess who sits on these boards? IFSB members include the central banks of Iran, Sudan, and Syria (all designated state sponsors of terrorism) and the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA), which is widely documented since its inception to be a funder of terrorism.
 
Sheik Yusuf Al-Qaradawiis on the Board of AAOIFI, the Bank Al-Taqwa (shut down in 2001 by the U.S. Treasury for terror funding) and many other Middle East banks. Qaradawi, has been banned from entering the United States of America since 1999 and the United Kingdom since 2008 because of his ties to terrorism.  He created a 57-member network of charities called the “Union of Good,” which is designated as a sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. Government. In July 2003 in Stockholm, at a conference arranged by the Muslim Association of Sweden, he expressed his support for suicide attacks against Israeli civilians which he called a "necessary Jihad." Perhaps this is why he described Sharia charity dollars as "Jihad with Money" in an interview with the BBC in 2006. During an address to the Journalists Syndicate in Cairo (Associated Press, September 2, 2004) he stated, "Fighting American civilians in Iraq is a duty for all Muslims… Americans in Iraq are all fighters and invaders. There is no difference between a civilian and a military American in Iraq”. Lastly, just to show how ‘charitable’ he really is on July 7, 2004, in an interview with BBC TWO's Newsnight he said, "Allah Almighty is just; through his infinite wisdom he has given the weak a weapon the strong do not have and that is their ability to turn their bodies into bombs as Palestinians do."
 
Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmaniis the Chairman of AAOIFI and is, or has been a paid Sharia Sheik on the Board of HSBC, Dow Jones, Citigroup and Guidance Financial. He is the Founder and Director of Jamia Uloom madrassa, the second largest madrassa in Pakistan, which "boasts close ties to the Taliban" according to International Crisis Human Rights Group. He was the Deobandi Cleric to the Taliban in 2001. According to a comment piece in The Times (UK), September 8, 2007 Usmani "believes that aggressive military jihad should be waged by Muslims 'to establish the supremacy of Islam' worldwide."
 
Imran Ashraf Usmaniis on the Boards of AAOIFI; AIG, HSBC, Citigroup, Lloyds TSB Bank (UK) and Credit Suisse Bank. Imran is the son of Sheik Taqi Usmani, schooled in the same Jihadist Pakistan madrassa. Banks are replacing Taqi Usmani with his son, Imran, as his father’s Jihadist background is being publicized. 
 
Sheikh Yusef Talal DeLorenzois on the boards of AAOIFI; IFSB, Barclays Capital, Dow Jones, Guidance International, Sharia Capital and Blackrock. He is an American convert to Islam who dropped out of Cornell and was educated at the same Jihadist Darul Uloom madrassa as the Usmani father and son team. He was also an advisor to Pakistan President Zia al-Haq 1981–1984 during the creation of the Taliban. He is the past Director of Education for the Islamic Saudi Academy, which has been condemned for its hate curricula by the Congress-appointed U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom. DeLorenzo was the secretary of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) which The Investigative Project has linked to Islamist extremism and terrorism. It was Sheikh DeLorenzo who said using the word "ethical" was a better description than "Sharia" for Western bankers to understand. 
 
So what do these sheiks actually do? One of their jobs is to ensure that somehow money from Sharia investments gets sent off to charity. The problem is that their definition of charity and the definition of charity according to most Americans are polar opposites.
 
In Webster’s, charity is defined as “generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless.” Conversely, on the HSBC Amanah Website in its list of Sharia “charity” is “fi sabilillah.” This is defined in the Reliance of the Traveler, the Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law (Umdat Al-Salik), p. 272, as follows:
 
“those fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged In Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army, or volunteers for Jihad without remuneration. They are given enough to suffice them for the operation, even if affluent: of weapons, mounts, clothing, and expenses.”
 
Further, the distribution of Zakat through Sharia or Iranian investments is not left to the choice of the investor, regardless if they are Muslim or non-Muslim. Instead the process of giving to charity is directly imbedded in the structure of the Sharia bond or mutual fund.  The investor has no choice. And deciding which charity receives the funding is left to the sole discretion of the hired Sharia Sheiks of the bank (or Mullahs in Iran).
 
Wait a minute. Let me understand this, charitable payments go to the army? For people who are fighting for Allah? For Jihad? Is that really true? You’re damned right! According to Sharia Islamic law, money for charity will be given to fight for Allah. And as previously demonstrated time and again, Muslim jihadist-terror organizations are indeed prominent Zakat recipients.  In fact, the U.S. Government has classified 27 Islamic charities as terror organizations; most recently, the Holy Land Foundation in Dallas, Texas, was convicted of financing terrorism in 2008 and had been charged with funneling $12 million dollars to Hamas.
 
How much revenue might be generated by the tiny but growing strong Sharia Finance market today? The Oasis Fleming Sharia fund of the UK reported in 2007 that it made $34.9 million in profits and distributed $3.3 million of this to Sharia charities. That’s a phenomenal 9.42% income to Islamic “zakat” or charity, and it is discretely named as “non-permissible income” on its income statement.  There is approximately $1 trillion of Sharia assets managed all over the world today (with 30 percent of it managed by Iranian banks). Assuming a return of 10 percent on these investments, that translates to $9.42 billion going to Sharia charities in 2010. Some might go to feed the needy, some to mosques, and some to CAIR. Oh, and yes, some to groups such as al Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.
 
Sharia finance is expected to grow 12 – 15 percent annually… so year in and year out, more and more dollars will go to fund the political movement of Sharia as lived by the Government of Iran, the Taliban and others. In fact, the Cozen O'Connor Law Firm  brought a suit in 2003 (now in the Supreme Court), on behalf of nearly three dozen insurers including Chubb, Ace and Allstate alleging that the funding for the 9/11 attacks in which nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered came directly from Islamic charities which acquired their Zakat donations in part thru Islamic banks. Many Islamic banks are named in this suit, including the Dubai Islamic Bank.
 
Funny how our government seems to be talking about sanctioning Iran while, at the same time, stopping the Taliban (with the blood of our own young people). The SEC is urging stricter regulations to avoid another sub-prime disaster. The U.S. Treasury and 32 central banks are considering stopping business with the shady Iranianbanking system which doesn’t comply with global banking standards of transparency and money-laundering. Yet Sharia Finance, the financial system of Iran, is rolling full speed ahead right into neighborhoodbranches of AIG, Citi, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Prudential and UBS.
 
As I have said and written many times before; enough is enough, open your eyes, get involved, tell your friends, family and colleagues and your Congressmen and Senators too. Sound the alarm!
 
The problem of Sharia compliant finance, just like Sharia itself, will not just go away. Unless we demand that our representatives and the companies mentioned above do something to stop Sharia Compliant Financing, it will only get worse.
 
Consider this next time you do business with one of these companies: what is your money being used to do?  
 
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Gadi Adelman is a freelance writer and lecturer on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism. He grew up in Israel, studying terrorism and Islam for 35 years after surviving a terrorist bomb in Jerusalem in which 7 children were killed. Since returning to the U. S., Gadi teaches and lectures to law enforcement agencies as well as high schools and colleges. He is currently writing his first book, Terrorism; Understanding the Threat. He can be reached at antiterror@nc.rr.com.  
 
Joy Brighton is a former Wall Street trader & Columbia MBA.  She educates policy, congressional, and activist audiences about the risks of Sharia finance. She is a Sharia Finance spokesperson for ACT for America.org - the largest national security citizen action network with more than 350 chapters across America. 

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