Lolly Madison (c)copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved

January 1,  2011

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” Euromoney Islamic Finance Awards are given to financial institutions (including commodity and trading companies) for being the “Most Improved Islamic Finance House” of the year. These financial institutions facilitate optimal services going far beyond simple banking.”

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JUST A CONSTITUTIONAL MINUTE…

It is still “the economy, stupid” as voiced by Bill Clinton in a one-phrase presidential platform focal stab.  James Carville, his illustrious campaign manager, helped Clinton win against George H. W. Bush in 1992 on three points that have continued to be the hub of the Democratic Party’s strategy including the Obama presidential bid: 1) Change vs. More of the Same, 2) The Economy, Stupid, and 3) Don’t Forget Health Care.  Barack Obama has taken points one and three to the extreme, but it is still number two we grapple with.

Yes, we Americans are supersensitive to our economic future. We wonder if there will ever be one again like the one based on an open, free market that brought this nation to its top world power status. We have fast become the sitting duck of world flaw-hunters. Islamic Sharia Law has even put its dirty fingers into our nice American apple pie, too.

In 1974, the first bank developed and positioned upon Sharia Law, was founded in Saudi Arabia—ever the most advanced of its particularly virulent form of Islam known as the Wahhabistic fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. It is called Sharia Banking.

With a look back at the practical implementation of Sharia law, just last September during Ramadan[1] when one is looking for particularly religious ways to show Muslim devotion, a 75-year old woman was brutally flogged for “mingling with men” by having two unrelated males in her house without male family supervision.

Of the two men, Fahd told the policeman he had the right to be there because Sawadi had breast-fed him as a baby and was therefore considered to be a son to her in Islam. The other young man Hadian  (24 years of age)  was delivering bread for the elderly woman as a means of earning money and simply was accompanying Fahd.

It seems the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, feared by many Saudis, is comprised of several thousand religious “policemen” who are allowed to burst into homes at will to “enforce the law” or we might opine, find out if anyone is breaking their law.  Reminds one of the Brown Shirts of Nazism. They needed yellow stars to give them hints on law-breaking; the Saudis only need berkas.

Were these two young men also flogged the forty lashes, given four months of imprisonment, and deported from the Saudi kingdom for mingling? Did their explanations provide evidence in the Saudi court to get themselves off free?  It takes three to mingle. Alas, chivalry and the protection of the weakest members of society are not a point of any kind in Wahhabi Islam, but I digress from our topic.

You just have to love our Constitution on  the Fourth Amendment alone. No one can burst into your private home (or rented rooms, for that matter) for unreasonable searches and seizures without a warrant issued by an officer of the court, except for  probable cause. It seems the seam of this Amendment is fraying on the cusp of cyberspace for which we must remain aware and vigilant.

Today, we are facing another major oppositional canon facing off against our federal, and many state constitutions, called Sharia banking or Sharia–Compliant Finance (SCF). These are the facts found at an Islamic Web site[2]  “At the moment, at least 300 Islamic banks have already spread all over the world. Their assets have been estimated to reach $800 million. Experts in economy estimated that by the year 2013, the assets of the Islamic banks would reach trillions of dollars.”  

But, this is not a recent invasion into the United States. They came in to the bankers, plying their petro-dollars dangling with attaching strings, that “convert interest into profit” but must be spent for their approved charities. In the banking world of SCF, “lenders may not charge interest and investors cannot make money from forbidden industries like gambling, alcohol, pork products, and pornography”.[3] This list is longer than that, too.

Islamic financing is a very intentionally constructed system of banking using the basis of  Sharia law. It is justified on only one or a few minimal verses from the Koran interpreted as Riba, meaning excess, increase or addition in compensation with the caveat that “no acceptance of interest or payment of fees may be received on loans of money”.  

In the historic banking systems of the rest of the entire world, the “rent of money” is a service that earns money (interest as the time value of money) until the principal amount is repaid and is based on the amount loaned and length of time it is lent (usury rules). Each contract is based on these agreed upon terms with a specific rate of interest. This is the legal way banks operate. Alright, Finance 101.

But not so in the Sharia–Compliant Finance (SCF) world waging “the silent jihad against the West”. They make it attractive to bank with them. Euromoney Islamic Finance Awards are given to financial institutions (including commodity and trading companies) for being the “Most Improved Islamic Finance House” of the year. These financial institutions facilitate optimal services going far beyond simple banking.  Additionally, professional certification programs are offered to bankers to become a Certified Islamic Finance Executive (CIFE).

To be determined as a qualified SCF, your board of directors must bow to the “Sharia Board” which is a committee of Islamic scholars made available (and mandatory) to any financial institution for guidance and supervision in the development of Sharia-compliant products. Without their approval that your products meet with the requirements of Sharia law, you will be passed over. No funds from the Middle East.

The depth of SCF products can be syndicated, invasive, structured, and encompass short- and medium-term  financing, foreign exchange, cash management, syndication, trade, and structured finance—all delivered with personalized attention and quality service. SCFs partner with clients “to provide tailor-made solutions to assist them in achieving their goals (Crédit Agricole CIB)” all based on the Istisn’a-Ijara (lease) concept which is a leasing agreement whereby the bank buys an item for a customer and then leases it back over a specific period.

A Sharia financing syndication is generally based on the concept of Murabaha (cost plus sale of commodities) which is a form of credit that enables customers to make a purchase without having to take out an interest-bearing loan. The bank buys an item and then sells it back to the customer on a deferred basis. It looks like the “loaning” bank takes the hit on transferring the “sin of usury” while Muslim customers work in the midst of smoke and mirrors and renamed protocols.

In our nation, the Dow Jones Islamic Index tracks all the Shariah-compliant companies and funds that have risen to the smell of Islamic money like TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab, for two. At the risk of boring (or educating) you with more SCF terms, it helps to understand how they are able to manipulate the system with profit rate structuring while “not taking sinful interest”. They simply make their money another way.

  • Foreign exchange swaps – these Sharia-compliant swaps using Murabahas in different currencies offer investors protection against currency rate fluctuation.
  • Cross Currency Swaps – this Islamic swap allows investors to mitigate the risk associated with any future fixed or floating rate payments through Murabahas between the SCF bank and investors.
  • FX Wa’ad – is a Sharia-compliant foreign exchange option. Through use of Wa’ad (unilateral promise), clients secure the right to exchange currencies with the bank at an agreed rate on an agreed date in the future. Client pays the bank to secure the promise. This product is for hedging or cost-reduction purposes only and not for speculation.
  • Islamic FX Outright – Shariah-compliant foreign exchange outright. Through unilateral Wa’ads, the lending bank and the investor undertake to exchange two currencies on a future date at a pre-agreed rate.
  • Sukuk – is an Islamic bond and is similar to an asset-backed bond as commercial paper; it provides an investor with ownership in an underlying asset with a return based on this ownership. Sukuk investors have a proportionate beneficial ownership in these assets and typically take on the credit risk of the issuer rather than real asset risk on the assets owned.

 

Now let’s look at why these unique Islamic financing products are seditious to the American way of life. According to Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C.,

“If you understand what Shariah is, you understand that it is a pretty awful system. Not something that you’d want insinuated in your society and becoming a major feature of your economic system,” Gaffney said. “Shariah (Islamic law as dictated by the Koran) governs all aspects of life, from the personal practice of the faith to how you relate to your family to how you relate to your business partners, to your community … all the way up to how the world is run, and it is all one seamless program. You can’t say ‘I’ll take the personal pietistic practice … and skip the beheading and the flogging and the stoning and the global theocracy.'”
With Sharia-compliant investing, the lending/investing/mortgage/bank company must ONLY invest within Sharia law approved entities. This would include nothing having to do with Christian companies, Israeli interests, pork-related enterprises and so forth, or investing in businesses that provide goods or services considered contrary to Islamic principles.  Wow, bet a lot of American businesses would be way out of scope here. 

It goes without elucidating, that “donations of interest” can be favorably targeted to terrorist-type groups, Islamic community centers, mosques, and the like which fall within the approved charities list created by  the board of Sharia law scholars who exactly dictate to American, Asian,  and European banks. 

Why would any American purposefully allow their money to be invested in or do business with SCF investment houses or funds (e.g., Azzad Asset Management, Amana Mutual Funds Trust, the Devon Bank in Chicago, and Guidance Residential) which are based on “zakat” (giving alms to the poor—while innocent on the surface can, in fact, be used to promote terrorism through Al Qaeda and Hamas, and the spread of radical Islam[4] which has been traced)?

Sharia banks give to charities such as madrasses (schools that teach Islam) and mosques that have been found to spread radical jihad Islam and anti-American, anti-Israeli attitudes. Patriotic Americans must thoroughly investigate the banking institutes they now do business with so as not to conform themselves to foreign and/or religious law disguised as banking.

According to Rachel Enrenfeld, “In June 2010, the Kuwait-based charity Revival of Islamic Heritage Society was designated by the United States Treasury for providing money and material support to Al Qaeda, its affiliates and to acts of terrorism.”

United States Treasury spokesman Andrew DeSouze stated, “It is illegal for anyone in the United States to provide funds to charities that have been designated by the Treasury Department as supporters of terrorism under Executive Order 13224. If the Treasury Department has information that anyone in the US were engaged in such activity, we would take appropriate action.” I’d like to know what action that is.

And watch your foreign investments especially because they are already compromised. Global financiers and banks like CitiGroup,  HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs are all Shariah-compliant.  The first Shariah-compliant money market fund in Europe was launched (October 2010) by the Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME) using Luxembourg’s specialized investment funds law.[5] The Islamic Bank of Britain provides Islamic student loans, do we? Muslim home mortgages charge the same amount of interest but reclassify that interest as “principle” by adding it to the total mortgage. Now, doesn’t that make you feel better?

In a nutshell, if you cannot personally trace down the whereabouts of the funds that Shariah banking-designated charities receive from loans your bank or investment company is utilizing and will not provide a list of charities these funds support, perhaps you should take your banking and investing elsewhere. Check out the Dow-Jones Islamic Index  and see if your financier is listed.

In conclusion, Sharia banking is as anti-U.S. Constitution as is Sharia law. They are of one unimpeded, total and unquestioned part of the pack. Islam is comprised of and framed in the whole of life. Islam is not broken into religion, politics, war, military training, health laws, social justice, banking, human rights, education, culture, governing and all other facets of living.  That is why we cannot call Islam a “religion” because that is not true anymore than labeling one eye as the whole body.

We need State law and Federal law against Sharia law and Sharia banking. We must insist on judges who fully understand and testify that America is a unique nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles and this makes her exclusive to herself. We are not going to blur the lines in any area with the Sharia carrot to lure money deals that are intra-constructed with counter-intuitive and anti-American outcomes.

We certainly need not be ignorant of the basic mechanics for living in a modern society. Banking is a part of life. No one knew what a cobra was until it bit the first person, he or she swelled up, and painfully died. They learned that cobras are bad and maybe all snakes are bad. Let’s not chance it in the future and stay clear of snakes.

Let’s just stick with our Holy Bible, Constitution, Founding Documents, and Bill of Rights by remaining cautiously clear of the exotic that might deliver the last, murderous blow to Western civilization.

Oh, by the way for you who are not convinced, the University Islamic Financial Corporation is offering you the opportunity to open a bank account with them to “earn a profit, not interest”. They are the first Shariah-compliant FDIC insured deposit program in America in—can’t you guess where?—Ann Arbor, Michigan, the first state targeted by CAIR to become fully Muslim.

And, you only need a thousand bucks. Whadda deal.


[1] Retrieved 10/12/10 from Atheist News “All Reasonable News Fit to Print – The Global Edition”  http://atheistnews.blogs.fi/tags/sharia-law+wahhabism/ and  the CNN News Room: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/03/09/saudi.arabia.lashes/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

[2] http://prisonerofjoy.blogspot.com/2008/10/us-fears-emergence-of-shariah-banks.html. This blog by a Islamic radical spewing hatred of America while he enjoys its fruits, is enlightening.

[4] Rachel Ehrenfeld, director of the American Center for Democracy

[5] http://ifresource.com/2009/10/02/first-shariah-compliant-money-market-fund-in-europe-launched/. This site is the news and information sheet as “The Islamic Finance Portal”.