Ahmadinejad: sanctions are sacrilege to IslamOctober 1, 2012
New York – Iranian President Ahmadinejad has described sanctions inflicted on his country by the USA, the UK and France as a “sacrilege against Islam”. Speaking in New York where he is attending the United Nations Assembly, and where he spoke at a U.N. debate on the role played by legislation, Ahmadinejad said that sanctions against Islam “violate the rights and the freedom of nations.”
What is Ahmadinejad talking about? Is he suggesting that sanctions are prohibited by Islam? It’s an unusual argument, but he isn’t alone. Watch this video uploaded to Youtube in March showing our old punching bag, Imran Hosein, who asserts that Islam does not permit economic embargos or the use of trade as a weapon.
Imran Hosein is very knowledgeable about his own religion, but what legal and religious basis do his comments have? One old story supporting such a position may be that a rival tribe of Muhammad imposed trade sanctions against Muhammad’s clan, leading to widespread hunger and, according to one questionable account, the starvation and death of his wife Khadija—a woman of enormous personal wealth:
The other clans of Quraysh implemented a trade embargo on the clan of Banu Hashim, Muhammad’s clan. The embargo lasted for three years and many of the clan starved to death. Khadija, weakened by starvation, died during this time as did his beloved uncle and sole protector, Abu Talib. That was the year 619 CE, “the year of sorrows.”
But that tale turns out to be just another Islamic tear jerker that is contradicted by centuries of economic aggression that followed it. How do Messrs. Ahmadinejad and Hosein account for:
- The recent cyber attack against U.S. financial institutions by Iran itself?
- The international boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel?
- The economic sanctions adopted by the Arab League against Syria last year?
- The Turkish prime minister’s call for “UN sanctions on Israel”
- Libya’s 2008 sanctions against Switzerland?
- The recommendation from Hizbul Mujahideen to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to implement economic sanctions against India?
- The 1973 Arab oil embargo?
- The heavy tolls imposed by the Ottoman Empire along the Silk Road that forced Christopher Columbus to search for a water route to circumvent the Middle East to reach the Far East?
- Perhaps most importantly from the standpoint of Islamic law and tradition, the higher customs duties imposed by Islam’s second Umar, a close companion of Muhammad, who engaged in, according to Islamic sources, something of a trade war against the Roman and Persian empires?
Far from being sacrilegious, sanctions appear to be rather well-suited to Islam.