Archive for November, 2011

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Diyya, no prison time, for 5 Pakistani murderers

November 30, 2011
Blood-stained U.S. currency

Ad-Diyat

Weekly word:  diyya

Rather than receiving an automatic death penalty, a Muslim man who kills his fellow Muslim brother can be pardoned by paying diyya (or diyat), which Atighetchi defines as “The sum of money to be paid to the person who has suffered injury or to the heirs in the event of death”.*

The basis for this aspect of Islamic law comes partially from the Koran, Sura 2, Verse 178:  “O People who Believe! Retribution is made obligatory for you in the matter of those killed unjustly; a freeman for a freeman, and a slave for a slave, and a female for a female; and for him who is partly forgiven by his brother, seek compensation with courtesy and make payment in proper manner.”

Paying money for bloodshed is enshrined in the Hadith, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 9, Book 83 (or in some translations Book 81) entitled “Blood Money (Ad-Diyāt).”  In a case where a murdered man’s family appealed to Muhammad for diyya because the deceased’s killer could not be identified, Muhammad himself settled the matter by giving 100 camels from the public zakat treasury to the family as blood money compensation (Book 83, No. 36).

This should help clear up any remaining confusion about why Saudi Arabia continues to peg the amount of compensation for a murdered man’s family at a value equal to the current price of 100 camels.

Diyya in the news

It also explains how five men could walk out of a Pakistani courtroom just last week simply by paying diyya without serving any sentence for the murder they committed.  From the Pak Tribune:

Five murder [sic] accused freed after paying Diyat

LAHORE: Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Sheraz Kiani on Wednesday released five murder accused after Diyat money was paid to the deceased’s family. The court released Zubair Ahmed, Muhammad Mubin, Muhammad Amir, Muhammad Munib and Ahmed Majeed, who had murdered Muhammad Shafique during a scuffle.

Accused Zubair Ahmed had visited the Nadra office to get his ID card but Shafique informed him that his ID card was not ready and it would be handed over to him within a few days. This led to a scuffle between them, which was ended by other employees of the Nadra office. The following day, Zubair Ahmed and other henchmen forced into the office and gunned down Shafique.

The deceased’s father, Muhammad Latif, registered an FIR in Chuhng Police Station against aforementioned accused. On Wednesday, the judge released them after the accused paid Rs600,000 as Diyat to the family of the deceased.

Atighetchi, Dariusch, Islamic Bioethics (The Netherlands:  Springer, 2007).

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Hamas levies fees and fines to break banks

November 29, 2011

In a move that Occupy Wall Street would approve of, Hamas is engaged in a systematic shakedown of Gaza banks.  Not content with the smalltime bank robberies that their hired goons had been committing, Hamas has determined that it would be more lucrative to adopt the Western neo-socialist model of expropriating millions of dollars from the banks through judicial or quasi-legal means.  From the New York Times on Nov. 17:

GAZA — In what could be the first of many such decisions, a Hamas-appointed court this week ordered two major banks in Gaza to pay tens of millions of dollars in back fees and fines for refusing to accept the taxing power of the Hamas government, rather than its West-Bank-based rival, the Palestinian Authority.

Bank officials, who boycotted the judicial hearings, said the decision, handed down by a lower court earlier this week, might force them to shut down temporarily, at least, further reducing access to money in this isolated coastal enclave…

The ruling on the banks was not published in any publicly available forum, so details were incomplete. But officials said that the Bank of Palestine, one of the largest banks in the West Bank and Gaza, was ordered to pay $113 million in taxes and fines.

The decision also bans 11 members of the bank’s board of directors who live here from leaving Gaza.

A similar ruling from the same court was issued against the Palestine Islamic Bank, but the amounts of the fines were not available, and bank officials declined to discuss them. There are nine banks in Gaza, and all of them, along with companies that import fuel and electricity and operate cellphones, may face similar rulings as cases make their way through the courts here…

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Foreign aid to Palestinian territories closely correlated with number of terror deaths

November 28, 2011

While the mainstream media attack Republicans in Congress for holding aid money to the Palestinian Authority, and while Republican presidential candidates are lampooned for suggesting scaled back foreign aid, we would do well to remember the startling trend exposed several years ago by the Terror Finance Blog, Daniel Pipes, Jean-Paul Azam, Alexandra Delacroix, and CAMERA, that the number of individual deaths caused by Palestinian Arab terrorism track uncannily with the amount of money that they receive in millions of dollars in international aid:

Acts of Palestinian-Arab terrorist murder plotted against foreign aid to the Palestinian-Arabs

Aid to the Palestinian territories, although nominally restricted to the Palestinian Authority, is routinely passed through to the Hamas-controlled Gaza government by Mahmoud Abbas (code name:  Abu Mazen).  The Gaza government employs “security forces” who moonlight as Hamas operatives.  Checks are written to the families of “martyrs.”  The Palestinian Authority gives stipends to convicted terrorists in Israeli jails and paydays for released terrorists after prisoner swaps.

Is it any wonder then that when the Palestinian Authority is flush with funds, the Holy Land is flush with fatalities?

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Allah requested loan, offered interest

November 27, 2011

The Koran, Sura 57 (“Iron”), Verse 11 says “Who is he that will lend a generous loan to God?”  The verse continues by assuring that Allah will “double it” as repayment to the lender.

Several passages of the Koran parallel this verse.  From a theological standpoint, it is curious that an all-powerful god would request a loan from the people he created.  An outsider could wonder, as did some of the Jews in Arabia during the time of Muhammad, if “Allah is poor and we are rich.”

But Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s best friend and himself a rich man, did not like being confronted with the possibility of Allah’s state of financial dependence or the verse from the Koran which suggested it.  Here’s the story of the Jewish rabbi Finhas, who resisted Abu Bakr’s appeals by saying:

“We have no need of Allah, but He has need of us! We do not beseech Him as He beseeches us. We are independent of Him, but He is not independent of us. If He were independent of us, He would not ask for our money as your master Muhammad does [for a war against Mecca]. He forbids usury to you, but pays us interest; if He were independent of us He would give us no interest.”

At this, Abu Bakr became angry, and struck Finhas violently, saying, ‘I swear by Him in whose hands my life rests that if there were no treaty between us I would have struck off your head, you enemy of Allah!’

Abu Bakr wished he could cut off Finhas’s head for pointing out the contents of the Koran and the contradictions of riba.  Even assuming that the loan-to-Allah verse is a non-literal expression, we are still left with the contradiction that Allah will “double” the repayment of loans made to him, which sounds a lot like the riba (interest) or usury which is outlawed throughout most other texts of Islam.

Many Muslims now claim in public that the loan to Allah in Verse 11 is actually charity for the poor, but the preceding verse of the Koran suggests, as Finhas suspected, a more warlike purpose:  “Those among you who contributed before the victory, and fought, shall be differently treated from certain others among you!” (Koran 57:10).  Charity toward “victory”?  Charity toward “fighting”?  Charity toward “iron”?  No—in context, the loan does not appear to be for charity for poor people, but financing the conquest of Mecca and the establishment of the Islamic state.

Rewards promised to those who give their money toward the military victory of Islam are frequent throughout the Koran.

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Dinner interrupted by gun-wielding kidnappers

November 26, 2011

Abductions for ransom by Muslim terrorists (fida’) are a common method of raising funds for jihad.  The Al Qaeda chapter of North Africa (AQIM) has been so successful in holding Europeans for ransom that they have been able to transfer excess profits to Al Qaeda itself.  This Associated Press article (via Washington Post) yesterday says that AQIM may have raised up to $130 million from ransoms alone, which would put it financially among the upper tier of jihadist groups worldwide:

BAMAKO, Mali — Gunmen killed a German man in Mali’s most famous city of Timbuktu and seized three men from the Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden, their tour guide said, as officials on Saturday ordered a plane to evacuate foreigners from the tourist destination.

Ali Maiga was with the tourists during Friday’s attack at a Timbuktu restaurant. A witness and an official said gunmen burst into the restaurant, grabbed four tourists dining there and executed one when he refused to climb into their truck.

Officials on Saturday evacuated foreigners from Timbuktu to the capital, said a man who owns a hotel in Bamako where the tourists previously stayed. He asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ward Bezemer confirmed later that one Dutch man was among those kidnapped.

“In the interests of the people involved, we never comment on these cases,” Bezemer told The Associated Press.

The kidnapping comes ahead of an official visit by Mali’s president to the Netherlands next week.

Until a few years ago, Timbuktu was one of the most visited destinations in Africa, but it is now one of the many former tourist hotspots in Mali that have been deemed too dangerous to visit by foreign embassies because of kidnappings by the local chapter of al-Qaida.

Friday’s incident comes after two French citizens were grabbed in the middle of the night from their hotel in the Malian town of Hombori on Thursday. French judicial officials have opened a preliminary investigation into their kidnappings.

Neither kidnapping has yet been claimed by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, whose members have kidnapped and ransomed more than 50 Europeans and Canadians since 2003.

If Friday’s kidnapping is by AQIM, it will mark the first time they have taken a hostage inside of Timbuktu’s city limits. Thursday’s kidnapping would be another first — the first hostage taking south of the Niger River.

The group’s footprint has grown dramatically since 2006, when the Algerian-led cell first joined al-Qaida. Security experts estimate the group has been able to raise around $130 million from ransom payments alone.

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Muslim Americans embrace convicted felons

November 25, 2011

After the guilty verdict on all counts last month against two Muslim women living in Minnesota for raising money for the jihadist terror organization al-Shabaab, did the local Somali community distance itself from the convicts?  Did they denounce terrorism?  Did they claim that zakat should be used for helping the poor rather than for financing Islamic wars abroad?  Did they say that these women misunderstood Islam, and didn’t represent them and their desire for world peace?

No.  They called the verdict “discrimination,” and they called the terror financiers “heroes”:

Under Islamic law, those who cannot personally wage physical jihad are encouraged to wage jihad with their wealth to guarantee their place in paradise.

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Concerns about popular sharia finance method

November 23, 2011

Weekly word:  Ijara

Ijara simply means “to give something for rent”.*  In practice, ijara financing often works as a lease-to-own agreement.

In real estate, ijara is frequently used as the basis for a mortgage with a premium rolled into the monthly rental/lease payment toward an eventual purchase of a house.  Ijara-based home loans can be distinguished from murabaha mortgages by the timing of the “sale.”  Murabaha may allow the sale and technical transfer of ownership once the borrower begins making payments, whereas under ijara the sale is made when the lessee makes final payment.

Ijara is widely accepted among Islamists because even they cannot deny the logic of paying on a lease to use an asset until the leesee is able to buy the asset outright.

Ijara critique

But if ijara is simply a lease, why bother having it at all?  In other words, Muslims could just take out a conventional lease, which is a popular method of financing car purchases in the U.S.  One senior member of a Pakistani web forum makes the following observation:

I am in possession of a Car Ijara Document from Meezan Bank which claims to have their Car lease interest free and Shariah Compliant certified by Maulana Taqqi Usmani. Some body [sic] please explain [to] me the difference between their Arabic sounding Ijarah and Car lease by other banks.

Meezan bank gives you [a] car for 20% security (another name for down payment) and gives you [a]  car on monthly rent almost comparable in amount to interest being charged by other banks (instead of instalments [sic] as rent is allowed in Islam). After 3-5 years, whenever the term completes, car is gifted to you while your security deposit is forfeited (or the car is sold to you at the security deposit price). Now someone please tell me, where do you pay rent and get guaranteed ownership of the property after a fixed tenure. There are few other obscure differences regarding ownership of car, status of monthly instalments [sic] etc etc but they are more of playing with words than having any real value.

This seems to me as a case of “Halala” of interest. Just play with words and use some arcane Arabic terminology like Mudaraba and Ijarah etc etc and viola, you are certified Shariah compliant. And you always get some maulvi to give a fatwa in your favour in exchange of some pay/ emolument. I wonder how much Maulana is being paid by the bank to be its Sharia advisor?

Money Jihad too wonders how much Taqi Usmani is being paid to bless off on sharia finance products.  In theory, one difference between ijara and a conventional lease is that ijara rents received by the bank aren’t invested in pork bellies or Anheuser-Busch stocks, and a portion of the bank revenues are diverted as zakat to be distributed as pro-sharia men Mr. Usmani see fit.

Investors start souring on ijara

Sukuk (Islamic bonds) are one of the largest asset classes among the sharia finance industry.  Sukuk can be structured using any of the methods that Money Jihad has defined over the last couple months—murabaha, mudarabah, musharaka, ijara, etc.—but ijara sukuk have become the most popular (partly because the aforementioned Mr. Usmani panned the alternatives).

Nevertheless, when Goldman Sachs recently announced its record and troubling $2 billion sukuk issue, it eschewed ijara for a murabaha—a structural choice that prompted surprise and speculation among Islamic finance analysts.  Goldman Sachs has committed a moral failure by endorsing such a massive foray into sharia finance, but their decision to base it on murabaha suggests that there are practical risks to ijara that have not yet been fully communicated to the public.

* Kettell, Brian B., Introduction to Islamic Banking and Finance (Chippenham:  John Wiley and Sons, 2011).

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