Posts Tagged ‘Islam’

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Following the money in early Islam

January 13, 2013

The Koran dictates that 20 percent of the booty or spoils of war, known as khums, belongs to Allah and Muhammad.  As Iraqi expatriate I.Q. al-Rassooli points out in this talk entitled “Allah’s Share of the Plunder,” does it really make sense that Allah needs a cut of the spoils?  What’s the exact breakdown between Muhammad and Allah—10 percent for each?  The only logical explanation is that Muhammad got it all.  What kind of religion would devise such a system?  As al-Rassooli points out, the kind of religion that attracted other men who believed that they too could become very wealthy from plundering and looting non-believers.  This is about 5 minutes long:

Revisit another great analysis from Mr. Rassooli here.

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Audio: the first rich Arab patron of jihad

January 3, 2013

Abu Bakr sponsored the military campaigns in the early days of conquest by Muhammad.  Khadija gave Muhammad enough money to help him attract followers, but it was the even wealthier Abu Bakr who helped buy the weapons and horses of Islam’s holy war against unbelievers.

A new recording from the British Islamic studios of Al Baseera highlight’s Muhammad’s praise for Abu Bakr’s role in funding the “deen” (or “dīn,” which can be translated from Arabic to English as “religion”).

It’s just 80 seconds long—take a listen:

Abu Bakr famously contributed all of his money to fund the Battle of Tabuk, an opening salvo in the Byzantine-Arab wars.  The implicit theme of messages like this is for rich Muslims to follow suit and fund jihad today.

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Ten biggest terror finance news stories of 2012

December 31, 2012
  1. Taliban funding remains intact despite international sanctions
    Reports in 2012 revealed that the Taliban’s funding remains intact, that none of the Taliban’s assets have been blocked by U.S. sanctions, that the Taliban retains its taxing authority over Afghans, and that the UN sanctions only 18 percent of the Taliban’s provincial shadow governors in Afghanistan.
  2. Islamic charities remain top terror financiers
    It’s questionable to even call this “news,” but understanding the role of Muslim charities in funding jihad, of which we saw multiple examples throughout 2012, is the Rosetta stone to bankrupting terrorism.  Instances of Muslim charities behaving badly cropped up, and in some cases have worsened, in both in the Middle East and in the West this year.In the Islamic world, the Saudi charitable foundation IIRO, whose branches in Indonesia and the Philippines were previously blacklisted by the U.S. for funding terrorism, is opening seven new branch offices.  In Bangladesh, the chief of the terrorist organization Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) revealed that Muslim Aid, WAMY, the Muslim World League, the Qatari Charitable Society, and the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, are among the primary donors to his jihad.  Read the rest of this entry ?
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Ahmadinejad: sanctions are sacrilege to Islam

October 1, 2012

From AGI (h/t Gates of Vienna) during Ahmadinejad’s visit to the U.N. last week:

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.

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Seven ways to stop funding terror

September 5, 2012

Money Jihad has previously proposed methods to limit zakat and hawala—two major mechanisms for funding terror.  Here’s a more comprehensive set of our recommendations that would reduce terrorist financing overall:

  1. Drill, baby, drill.  The U.S. should expand offshore oil drilling, open federal lands for drilling, ease its permitting process for new refineries, encourage hydraulic fracturing methods that tap previously inaccessible energy sources underground, and approve the Keystone XL pipeline.  Increasing domestic U.S. and Western Hemisphere energy production will reduce reliance on Persian Gulf oil supplies and thereby minimize the profits reaped by hostile, foreign regimes that sponsor terror.
  2. Eliminate foreign aid to Pakistan.  Pakistan uses its ISI spy service to fund the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and Lashkar-e-Taiba.  Continuing to waste money on Pakistan is not only wasteful when we can least afford it, but it is suicidal.
  3. Study the true enemy and threat.  Among the most important concepts for the Western public to understand are:

    If we fail to acknowledge Islam as the animating force behind terror finance, we’ll get confused and aim at the wrong targets.  For example, we’ve spent billions of dollars complying with extensive bureaucratic requirements such as currency reports that have yielded minimal results.

  4. Launch a new offensive against Muslim American charities and entities that fund terrorism.  Pick a few of the highest profile ones and make an example of them by prosecuting their leaders and dressing them in orange jumpsuits.  Prosecute Islamic Relief USA under the laws against providing material support for terrorism.  Prosecute the Council on American-Islamic Relations under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.  Strip the halal food certifier IFANCA and the mosque deed financier North American Islamic Trust of their tax-exempt status. Read the rest of this entry ?
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Abu Bakr: a taxing companion

July 3, 2012

Muhammad had a knack for recruiting the wealthiest people to Islam before bothering with the poor.  Like the first person to convert to Islam (Khadija) the second person, Abu Bakr, was also very wealthy.  Abu Bakr was a rich cloth merchant (an early fashion designer, if you will) whose business trips took him as far as Syria and Yemen.

But once he fell under the spell of Khadija and Muhammad, Abu Bakr became transformed into a jihadist Daddy Warbucks—the businessman who helped ensure the Prophet had the money he needed to raise an army to fight the infidel.  Abu Bakr endeared himself to Muhammad by forfeiting all of his household wealth to fund the war effort.  At one point, Abu Bakr slapped a Jewish rabbi in the face who questioned the Koranic verse 57:11 that suggested Allah needed a loan.  Some have explained that the true reason behind the altercation was that Abu Bakr approached the rabbi to obtain a loan on Muhammad’s behalf, and the rabbi refused.

Despite Muhammad’s love for Abu Bakr, the #1 companion faced difficulties too.  The most notable opposition came from Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, and her husband Ali.  When Muhammad died, Abu Bakr seemed eager to retain Muhammad’s estate to propagate Islam, and fought off the attempts of Fatima to claim personal inheritance from her father’s ownership of an orchard at Fedak.

In so doing, Abu Bakr basically imposed a 100 percent estate tax on the deceased Muhammad’s wealth and appropriated it for the needs of the burgeoning caliphate.  The money grab/inheritance dispute between Abu Bakr on one side and Fatima Ali on the other would result in the Sunni-Shia split that has roiled the Islamic world ever since.

Even after he was named the first caliph after Muhammad’s death, Abu Bakr continued earning income from selling clothes.  Noting the unseemliness of this behavior, Muhammad’s #2 companion, Umar, arranged a salary for Abu Bakr.  But Abu Bakr generally seemed more concerned about the treasury of Islam, the bayt al-mal, than with his own portfolio.  He made his mark on the early caliphate by pledging to fight those who refused to pay zakat, rejecting the leniency his advisers urged.

One author has written that under the circumstances of zakat non-payment, “It is not strange… that Abu Bakr and his government should have undertaken the killing of innocent Muslims and the destruction of their sanctity and the enslavement of their women and progeny.”  No, not strange at all!  Given Abu Bakr’s background of spending his whole adult life and net worth to help obtain early victories for Islam, it is little wonder he undertook a campaign to kill tax debtors who he felt were shortchanging the cause.

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Slick ad tells Muslim youth to use gold coins

May 11, 2012

A new commercial uses images of Muslim young ladies buying food at a halal cafeteria with silver coins.  Viewers are urged to use the silver dirham coins and gold dinars in order to “revive the Sunnah”:

The Islamic world is replete with examples of the move toward silver and gold coins, and this is just the latest.  Indonesia recently introduced a standardized dinar and dirham system to run alongside their paper currency as an option for Indonesians.

Gold advocates and Muslim financiers make repeated claims of gold and silver having “intrinsic value.”  Pardon me, but can you eat gold and silver?  Can you drink it?  Will it keep you warm in winter and dry in the rain?  No—only the things you can buy with gold and silver can do that for you.  And guess what?  You can buy the same things with paper currency.

In this sense, “fiat” currency isn’t much different from “fiat” metal.  But metals are susceptible to fluctuations in the global market (like oil) and could potentially be a less stable system upon which to base a national monetary system.

Turning back the financial clocks to the dinar and dirham may make some Western nostalgists, goldbugs, and paranoiacs envious or concerned that the Islamic world is taking what they feel is a more sensible approach to money.

But there is nothing to be envious about.  Returning to gold and silver will not help the economies of the Islamic world.  If anything, it will make them even less efficient and less competitive in today’s currency-based financial world.

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