For those of you worried about their superannuation savings being fritted away thanks to the near-collapse of Freddie Mae (or should that be Fanny Mac?), their insurance premiums going up thanks to AIG going broke or their jobs being lost thanks to a general economic downturn, all this really should be the least of your worries. The biggest worry is that Osama bin Laden and his minions could be running Wall Street soon.
Writing in The Washington Times, a newspaper whose owner is completely unrelated to any form of religious fundamentalism, Frank Gaffney warns of the dangers of financial products and instruments that comply with Muslim sacred law. Soon, we could be seeing the spread of sharia for complete bankers.
Gaffney fears that the impending crisis on Wall Street could lead to “the infusion of vast quantities of petrodollars, primarily from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ Saudi Arabia and other Islamist nations in the Persian Gulf”. Their goal is to “promote Shariah-Compliant Finance and the seditious theo-political agenda it serves”. Of course, the owners of The Washington Times have never served any theo-political agenda.
And what is this Sharia-compliant financing all about? Basically it’s about providing credit without charging riba (an Arabic word which means usury). And does riba include interest charged by conventional financial institutions? Are Muslims religiously prohibited from taking out mortgages? Well, it depends on who you talk to.
But so-called sharia-compliant finance also influences how funds managers invest. Or rather, what kinds of companies they invest in. Hence, sharia-compliant funds won’t invest in gambling or p-rnography. This may not be your cup of tea, especially if your surname is Packer or Heffner. But seriously, how does this stuff differ with any other form of ethical investment?
Gaffney heads the Centre for Security Policy, a group so committed to national security that it awarded its Keeper Of The Flame Award to such peacemakers as Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz.
Yep, in the fantasy world of Rev Moon’s conservatives, interest-free finance is almost as dangerous as free s-x.
Disclosure: The writer is paying off a very sharia-uncompliant mortgage.