Archive for November, 2010

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Balkan Muslims serve Saudi paymasters

November 30, 2010

NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reported last month that Saudi-funded radicalism in the Balkans is still gaining adherants. In exchange for a steady check, the Muslim youths grow a beard, wear a veil, and adopt that pesky misunderstanders’ version of Islam. This two-minute portion of her well-done report touches on the special appeal of the Saudi-backed mosques for Kosovo’s poor.

Millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and a 45 percent unemployment rate in Kosovo make a deadly combination.

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Sharia banking gains steam in Algeria

November 29, 2010

Nacer Haidar, an Al-Baraka Bank executive, is calling on Algeria to “enact special laws for some Islamic banking products…”  Special laws, got it?  Not the same standards and laws for all banks.  Not one law for the whole country, but a second set of laws for the Islamists.  That would work out just fine for Al-Baraka, an Islamic banking network which is expanding its presence throughout North Africa.

From Magharebia on Nov. 12:

Islamic banking gains popularity in Algeria

For Algerian consumers seeking to avoid interest payments, sharia-compliant mortgages and other loans remain limited by an inadequate legal, institutional, and regulatory framework. An Islamic financing forum held Tuesday (November 9th) in Algiers examined how to satisfy these clients.

“The law on money and credit permits Islamic banking transactions and products, including mortgages, because these products don’t constitute any breach of the Algerian law, and not because these financial institutions are compliant with the principles of Sharia,” said Zoubir Ben Terdeyet of Isla Invest Consulting, which helped organise the conference.

Ben Terdeyet confirmed that this financial concept is deemed an important alternative solution, as it includes measures that can curb inflation and avoid financial crises that lead to bankruptcy.

Al-Baraka Bank chief Nacer Haidar highlighted the importance of the Islamic banking system in solving the problem financing private-sector businesses. He also emphasised the need to expand the scope of Islamic financing system in Algeria, calling for implementing murabaha (sale on profit) at the level of banks and for using funds to expand production and providing means of work.

”The share of the Algerian banking market doesn’t exceed 1% of the total assets circulated around the world,” Haider said, adding that measures included in the Islamic banking system would put an end to the tax problems with investments and riba-based practices that cause financial crises.

Algerian authorities need to “enact special laws for some Islamic banking products, as was the case with financing through musharaka (joint venture), which complies with the laws and procedures related to investment capital,” Haidar said.

I guess all the jihadi kidnappers in Algeria can’t tolerate depositing their funds into a secular bank.  Glad to know they’ll have new options shortly.

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‘Tis the season!

November 28, 2010

Last year, this essay on the different approaches of Jesus and Muhammad toward taxation became one of the more widely read posts on Money Jihad.  Since then we’ve done some tinkering and managed to covert it from an essay into this new, short video:

Please take a look, share with friends this holiday season, and contact us with any feedback.  Have a blessed Advent!

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Hillary’s millions will fund Hamas

November 26, 2010

Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton announced an additional $150 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority.  Caroline Glick has written an extensive piece about everything that’s wrong with that plan (hat tip to Israel Matzav and to all who sent this in).  Of particular interest is her analysis of how the aid ends up in the pockets of Hamas:

…The simple truth is that it is impossible to prevent US budgetary assistance to the PA from financing Hamas, in contravention of US law. Each month Fayyad transfers funds to Hamas-controlled Gaza to pay the salaries of PA employees there. Fayyad has argued that this assistance cannot be considered material aid to Hamas, since the employees are employed by the PA. But this is nonsense.

These employees serve at the pleasure of Hamas. Paying their salaries contravenes US law as well as international law, which prohibits states from providing any assistance whatsoever to areas controlled by terrorists. This is true even if the actual money he transfers to Gaza comes from other income sources. Without the direct US budgetary assistance, he wouldn’t be able to funnel money to Gaza.

PROVIDING DIRECT budgetary assistance to Fayyad isn’t the only way the US finances Hamas. It also contributes to Hamas by funding UNRWA. Read the rest of this entry ?

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“Illegal taxes” collected in Karachi

November 25, 2010

Pakistan is crawling with mafia syndicates—the drug mafia, the land mafia, the weapons mafia.  But the father of all three is the “bhatta” mafia.  Bhatta refers to extortion.

The bhatta mafia have become increasingly active this year especially against businessmen in Karachi.  Cattle ranchers, rickshaw drivers, gold dealers, paper traders, furniture makers—nobody is immune:

But these may not be simple cases of criminal extortion.  According to a recent Express Tribune article, “Also, during Eid, Mehsud tribesmen living in Karachi are forced to pay ‘bhatta’ in the name of donations for fighters in Waziristan. ‘Last Eid, we received reports that ‘parchiyaan’ (tickets)* were collected from each trader in Sohrab Goth (in Karachi) for this purpose,’ Shahid said.”  The Express Tribune refers to such collections as “illegal taxes.”  Some call them “jagga taxes.”

Bhatta may go against Pakistan’s criminal laws, but taxes against traders—both Muslims and infidels—are required under Islamic law.  Customs duties on articles of trade are regarded as a type of zakat.

* A parchi is a slip of paper with an extortion demand.

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Fifth San Diego Muslim funds al-Shabaab

November 24, 2010

No country in the world is in as much danger of terrorist attacks as Somalia according to a new report.  Terrorist financing, whether ransoms paid to pirates or zakat paid to al-Shabaab, seems to be heading in Somalia’s direction as well.

In addition to the four San Diego al-Shabaab financiers we recently found out about, add one more.  Evidently this 24-year-old mother of “five or six” has been busy in more ways than one.  From the Union Tribune on Nov. 15:

SAN DIEGO — Federal prosecutors in San Diego have charged a woman with providing money and other assistance to the Somali terrorist organization al-Shabaab.

Nima Ali Yusuf, 24, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide material support to al-Shabaab and lying to a government agency investigating a terrorist matter.

Yusuf appeared in federal court Monday for an arraignment after being arrested Friday, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday to determine whether she should be granted bail.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sabrina L. Féve declined to comment Monday afternoon on the case until that court hearing.

Yusuf is the fourth Somali native living in San Diego to be charged this month with aiding al-Shabaab, a militia that has links to al-Qaeda. The group wants to establish an Islamic state in that war-torn country.

About 10,000 Somalis live in San Diego, mostly in the City Heights neighborhood, making it the second largest Somali community in the United States, behind Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

The indictment of Yusuf, unsealed Monday, sheds little light on what she is alleged to have done or how it may be connected to the other three people who so far have been charged.

It charges her with conspiring to provide personnel and money to al-Shabaab. It also says that on Sept. 22, she told agents with the FBI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection that she had not sent any money to Somalia in the preceding year, though the indictment states that she knew at the time that was false…

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Piracy spawns booming insurance sector

November 23, 2010

A finance industry publication called Out of the Storm News published an illuminating interview on Nov. 8 with executive Greg Bangs about the growing market for piracy insurance.  Rather than get slowed down, shipping companies would rather pay ransoms as quickly as possible to their crews’ Muslim captors, necessitating a typical insurance policy of $3-5 million in coverage.

Naturally it’s a good market for insurers.  But it’s even better for the pirates.  In its entirety:

Pirates and Piracy Insurance

By Lena Goodwin

The majority of pirates come from Somalia, which has not had a functional government in more than 15 years.  At current, pirates in this region are holding 19 ships with 428 hostages.

The primary industry at target appears to be oil tankers — however it is not the oil the pirates are after, but something more valuable, the people.  The loot these days is in the ransom.

If there is a delay in shipment, companies lose money, so the reality is that most companies choose to pay the asked ransoms.

And as a result, piracy insurance was born.

We recently captured an interview with Greg Bangs, Worldwide Product Manager for Crime and Kidnap and Ransom Insurance, at the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, regarding his thoughts on pirates, insurance and the current trends in this market.

OOTS:    Do you feel piracy is on the rise? If so, why?

GB:        Piracy is definitely on the rise and is a huge problem in Somalia. As of nine months 2009 there were 34 hijackings, compared to 35 hijackings for the same period this year.  Although this is a seemingly slight rise in hijackings, the organization of the attacks is better both in development and execution. The region suffers from two distinct monsoon seasons which hampers the pirates’ efforts during the summer and the winter periods. But, as soon as the monsoon seasons pass, the attacks increase.  We are also seeing the attacks increase in Nigeria and Indonesia.  The pirates are getting more aggressive; they are boarding vessels, assaulting crew members and stealing from the ship itself.

OOTS:    What are the main items stolen, the most valuable loot, as it were, and why?

GB:        The most valuable “item” is clearly the crew. The vessel and the cargo are important, but the pirates’ primary reason for hijacking the ship are the people on board and the hefty ransom they hope these individuals will bring.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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