Archive for October, 2010

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Muhammad inspired Michael Myers?

October 31, 2010
Michael Myers peers over the balcony

Michael Myers in "Halloween"

The Prophet Mohammed in a Mosque

Muhammad in a mosque

 

One of the greatest horror films ever made was “Halloween,” which was produced by Syrian-born Moustapha Akkad in 1978.  The film was so thrilling that Roger Ebert proclaimed “I would compare it to Psycho.”

Apart from producing the Halloween series, Akkad is perhaps most famous for directing “The Message”—the sword and sand “epic” glorifying the life and conquests of Muhammad.  “The Message” was released just two years prior to “Halloween.”  It seems a rather dramatic change in focus—does it not?—to be making a religious biography one year and a gory slasher flick shortly thereafter?  But there is more continuity between the two movies than meets the eye.

First person camera

There are a few famous films in history, such as “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” that have used the viewpoint of the camera to simulate the viewpoint of a character in the movie.  Two of the other best known films to employ that technique are—you guessed it—“The Message” and “Halloween.”

More often than not, arch-villain Michael Myers is depicted either by the camera or in the shadows, at a distance, and only in a mask.  Like our beloved Prophet, you never see his face.  The production of “The Message” was interrupted, protested, and boycotted on many occasions over rumors that an actor would portray Muhammad on screen.  If Moustapha Akkad ever desired to show the face of Muhammad, the death threats convinced him otherwise.  Akkad decided to use first-person camera and only portrayed Muhammad’s more distant relatives and companions to avoid the controversy of showing Muhammad’s inner circle.

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Arab nations fund Marseille mega-mosque

October 29, 2010

Old news in need of wider dissemination.  Various “Arab nations” have pledged the money that will be necessary to build the new “Grand Mosque” in Marseille that will fit 7,000 worshipers…  From France 24, courtesy of the “Islam in Europe” blog on May, 20, 2010:

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Viva Palestina: the next Holy Land Foundation?

October 28, 2010

The Holy Land Foundation trial centered on HLF’s illegal funneling of money from the United States to Hamas.  Muslim Americans are rightfully sitting behind bars for their crimes in the HLF case.  But another organization—Viva Palestina US—seems to be getting away with strikingly similar activities today with impunity.

The back story

The Investigative Project on Terrorism released a report earlier this year on Viva Palestina, a Hamas front group launched by the notorious George Galloway.  IPT finds that Viva Palestina, “and its American affiliate, Viva Palestina US, claim to be involved in providing humanitarian donations to the Palestinian people. The operations of these two connected organizations, however, are clearly political in nature and have provided material and propaganda support to Hamas, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).”

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Tax breaks for South African sharia

October 27, 2010

South Africa is poised to pass new tax “neutrality” measures for sharia banking.  That means tax changes to encourage what they euphemistically call “foreign direct investment” (FDI).

The Arab News came out with this report late last month:

The South African government’s recent confirmation that it is in the process of introducing tax neutrality laws for Mudaraba (trust financing), Murabaha (cost-plus financing) and Diminishing Musharaka (diminishing shared ownership) contracts is a long overdue recognition of the potential Islamic finance has for the country and the region. Financial services industry sources stress that the proposed tax neutrality measures are just the start and the wider objective is to introduce a comprehensive regulatory and legal framework to facilitate Islamic finance in the country both for financial inclusion and market liberalization and development reasons.

It may also have something to do with the ambition of the country to develop Cape Town into an international financial hub, an ambition which was confirmed by Alan Winde, the finance minister of the provincial government of the Western Cape; and South Africa’s aim of attracting inward foreign direct investment (FDI) from the Middle Eastern countries and others such as Malaysia and Brunei…

Great!  We already have sharia finance hubs in London, Paris… Why not Cape Town?  This was followed up by the Business Report:

The Banker magazine reported recently that few parts of the global financial sector could claim to have continued growing in the past two years like Islamic financial institutions had – namely, asset growth of 64 percent.

It is thus no surprise that South Africa has joined Australia, Hong Kong and the UK and a growing number of non-Muslim countries in developing their Islamic finance sector by changing regulations that level the playing field for these transactions.

To achieve this Revenue will place a new insertion in the Income Tax Act that would take into account Shariah practices which involved profit and risk sharing and forbade the paying or receiving of interest or investment in certain industries.

“In the absence of special rules, the way Shariah transactions are treated for tax purposes creates unfair distortions,” says Islam Today…

Notice that we in the West are steadily changing our “secular” tax laws to accommodate their sharia law?  More on the growth of Islamic finance in South Africa can be found on Shariah Finance Watch here, and the Shia push for khums among South Africans on Money Jihad here.

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New tax on harbi truckers

October 26, 2010

To shore up its frightful budget, Pakistan is considering a new tax against U.S. trucks.  Sounds like Pakistan is taking a page from the Taliban’s book.  Or from Hizbul Islam’s.  Or from Caliph Omar.  From the Daily Times on Oct. 10 (h/t Rantburg):

Pakistan mulls tax on NATO trucks

LAHORE: The government is considering imposing a tax on NATO supply trucks going into Afghanistan from Pakistan, a private TV channel reported on Saturday. According to sources, NATO supplies are sent to Afghanistan through Chaman and Torkham road networks. On the other hand, some 500 trucks filled from Pakistani refineries go to Afghanistan on a daily basis and this had been the routine since the last seven years, the channel said. Numerous highways had been adversely affected due to the heavy trucks and hence the government said it considered imposing a tax on their supply. The government might also demand a road tax from the US for the past seven years of transporting these trucks, which would amount to approximately Rs 600 million, the channel reported.

For the past seven years?  Add retroactivity to the list of what’s wrong with Pakistan’s awful tax system.

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Zakat flows “uninterrupted” to jihadist JMB

October 25, 2010

A year ago today we covered the jihadist financing behind Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).  At the time JMB was enriched by zakat, ushr, and counterfeiting.  Last month the Daily Star provided an update (h/t Shariah Finance Watch).  Does it still count as an “update” when the financing hasn’t changed one bit?  Well, one thing may have changed—JMB appears to be receiving even more international zakat donations than last year.

JMB still getting plenty of funds

Flow of money from local, foreign sources remains intact despite arrest of top brass

Shariful Islam

Financial strength of militant organisation Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh has been a grave concern for law enforcement agencies as the banned outfit is reportedly getting more than Tk 50 lakh a month from local and foreign sources.

JMB’s activities have lately appeared on the wane following the arrest of its top brass, including its chief Moulana Saidur Rahman, and explosives experts.

But law enforcers involved with anti-militancy drives believe its network of financial support survives intact. The flow of fund in the form of supporters’ monthly contributions, Zakat and donation apparently remains uninterrupted.

The officers, however, could not say who handles the funds after the arrest of Saidur in May. The JMB chief himself was in charge of its finance division.

Of their monthly earning, around Tk 6 lakh is being sent by around 3,000 JMB supporters staying in Australia, England, Italy, Canada, Malaysia and middle-east countries, according to a statement made by Saidur at Taskforce for Interrogation cell recently.

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Just what the world needs

October 24, 2010

A new, mega-Islamist charity.  Zakat as far as the eye can see.  All courtesy of Osama Bin Laden.  Here’s AP’s report on the release of Bin Laden’s latest audiotape earlier this month:

Actually, this is old news in many ways because the 9/11 attacks were primarily funded by zakat.

But maybe Bin Laden will establish a “new,” “charitable” wing for Al Qaeda.  Like Hamas has the Union of Good network.  He might figure that some dim Western governments will allow their own Muslim populations to donate to a front charity more easily than they can donate to Al Qaeda today.  (Again, just like Union of Good.)

Let’s hope that S. Leslie Ireland, the relatively new head of Treasury’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, is watching the landscape closely for any new Bin Laden initiatives.

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