Archive for October, 2009


The Jizya, Part II

October 31, 2009

Part II of III:  The Islamic basis of the jizya

The Koran 9:29 says:

Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

 The word “tax” here has been translated in different versions of the Koran as “tribute” or simply “jizya.”  Christians and Jews, “who have been given the Book,” but do not accept Islam, must convert or pay the jizya.

The Hadith, the collection of the words and deeds of Muhammad, are even more explicit.  The Sahih Muslim, one of the Hadith accepted by all Muslims, lays out Islam’s famous three-part ultimatum of conversion, payment of the jizya, or death:

When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them…  If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.  (Book 19, Number 4294.)

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The Jizya

October 30, 2009

This will be the first of three special posts on the jizya, the most despised of all Islamic taxes.  Part I today will examine the moral cavity of the jizya.  Tomorrow, Money Jihad walk through the legal foundation of the jizya in Islamic texts, and on Sunday we’ll examine the current imposition of the jizya throughout the world against non-Muslim minorities.

Part I of III:  Why all the fuss

Suppose you are a Methodist living in a majority-Baptist community in America.  Now suppose that in addition to all the state, federal, and local taxes you are required to pay, you are also forced to pay tithes to the local Baptist church.  Remember that you’re a Methodist.

Or suppose you’re a Muslim living in America in a majority-Christian community.  Now suppose that in addition to paying all your government taxes, you’re required to give tithes to the local Christian church.

Unthinkable, right?  But that is what is so insidious about the jizya, the Muslim poll tax on non-Muslims.  If you search for the term jizya on the Internet, you will find a wide range of definitions, from defensive explanations that the jizya is only a substitute for military service, to more accurate definitions that address the punitive, discriminatory character of the jizya.

The unique ugliness of the jizya is difficult for the Western mind to appreciate fully.  First, with our tradition of separating church and state, an obligatory tax levied by the church seems totally foreign to us.  Second, our general theory of taxation is that taxes are levied by the state on those who derive a benefit from the state.  In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith said:

The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under protection of the state [emphasis mine].

Islam, however, blends concepts of the state and religion.  If we think of Islam as a religion only (as most Americans perceive it to be), and if we think of our own principles of taxation, the jizya appears to be, not just discriminatory, but utterly perverted.  In theory, Islamic taxes should only be imposed on thos who derive a benefit “under protection” of Islam.  What benefit is there, pray tell, to being considered a second-class dhimmi in Muslim society?

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“Money Jihad” blog is turning heads

October 29, 2009

In less than three weeks from its inception, Money Jihad has drawn readers from all over the web!  It was recently brought to my attention that MJ is WordPress‘s featured blog about terrorist financing, and it is the featured blog for Islamic taxation.

Thanks most especially to the wonderful readers and commenters from Jihad Watch–my favorite blog on the Internet–who have educated me on jihad over the years, and who are visiting this gem of a blog today!


Immoderate military spending by the Hashemite Kingdom

October 29, 2009

The adjective used most often to describe Jordan is “moderate.”  How does moderate Jordan’s military spending stack up against our own?


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Get your sexist finance laws off our women! (But keep the burqa)

October 28, 2009

Is counterterrorism sexist?  According to a recent United Nations report, yes.

Section J of the report deals with sex discrimination in anti-terrorist financing laws.  You’re welcome to read it for yourself, but as a public service I’ll quote the mind-numbing UN-speak here with my own translation interspersed for your convenience:

The Special Rapporteur [yes, the rapporteur refers to himself in the third person throughout the entire report] is also concerned that terrorism financing laws that restrict donations to non-profit organizations have particularly impacted organizations that promote gender equality, including women’s rights organizations…

[Translation:  The U.N. (and liberals worldwide) and are concerned that Muslims can’t give their zakat to charities of their choice because some charities have been designated as jihad terrorist funding front groups (because they actually are).  President Obama expressed a similar view this summer in Cairo when he said, “In the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That’s why I’m committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.”]

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Iraq bomb & extortion network news

October 27, 2009

As Money Jihad speculated yesterday, the Al Qaeda group known as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s bomb blasts in Baghdad.

In separate news on Iraq’s terrorist bomb network, Iraqi security forces have arrested 14 Al Qaeda suspects in Fallujah and Kirkuk four days ago.

This follows news of 49 arrests of ISI-linked “extortion emirs” in Mosul earlier this month.  Coalition forces described the extortion activity:

The suspects are part of an ISI-led terrorist group that extorts money from innocent people by threatening violence against them. People typically targeted by the extortion network include those who own or work at construction sites and local businesses, although individuals at their private residences have been victims as well. ISI extortionists then use the stolen money to fund terrorist attacks against Iraqi civilians and security forces.

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The “richest of the insurgency groups” behind Baghdad blasts?

October 26, 2009

Over 150 people may have died in bomb blasts in Baghdad yesterday.  Somewhere around the eighteenth paragraph of this report, the New York Times finally hints at the culprits of the attack: 

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the pair of bombings, but they were remarkably similar to a pair of coordinated attacks on Aug. 19 that struck the Foreign and Finance Ministry buildings. Those attacks were claimed five days later by the Islamic State of Iraq…

This would be a good time to review just how the Islamic State of Iraq, a jihadist group with foreign (ie, Al Qaeda) leadership, is funded.  Reporting from Britain’s Channel 4 two years ago is worth revisiting:

An Iraqi Security Services report obtained by More 4 News identifies the ISI as the richest of the insurgency groups, estimating that between $1bn to $1.5bn has been collected in revenue by the group through foreign donations, enforced taxation and confiscation of the property and funds of Iraqis (both Sunni and Shia) the ISI accuse of collaborating with the “Crusaders”.

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JMB revenues: zakat, ushr, and counterfeiting

October 25, 2009

The Daily Star reports that the jihadist organization, Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), is using money to encourage recruits to join or remain as JMB members.  The whole article is here, but the most interesting part is this fairly candid description of JMB revenue sources:

The change in the JMB’s recruitment strategy has increased the organisation’s overall expenditure, the official said adding that alongside JMB’s traditional source of income, a few NGOs and charity organisations are suspected to be providing funds to JMB.

“We’ve already got primary information about three to four such NGOs and charity organisations and are trying to get evidences against them,” a senior Rab intelligence official told The Daily Star wishing anonymity.

He, however, would not give the names of those NGOs and charity organisations before the investigation is over.

The traditional sources of JMB funding are its members’ contribution, Usl (zakat on harvested crops), Zakat, Fitra, leather of sacrificial cattle and contribution of local and foreign supporter and well-wishers.

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Taliban revenues: reading between the lines

October 24, 2009

Government officials have appeared to be forthcoming this month about the sources of growing Taliban revenues.  In a speech earlier this month, Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing David S. Cohen pointed to drug money and protection payments as major sources of Taliban funding.

The U.S. special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, blamed “individuals carrying money in their suitcases” during an interview with CNN.  Holbrooke, somewhat more intelligibly, has also addressed donations from the Persian Gulf, hawala financing, and charities.

This week Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that certain money exchange dealers are financing terrorism, and said the government will be investigating the matter.

The media have weighed in too with a fair summary of funding sources by the New York Times.  Meanwhile, The Times of London confirmed “protection payments” from the Italian intelligence service to the Taliban.

But what’s missing from almost all of these accounts is any examination of traditional methods of Islamic revenue collection.  Read the rest of this entry ?


U.S. insurance company poised to buy Sharia bank

October 23, 2009

Investor’s Business Daily and Reuters are reporting that “a U.S. insurance firm had met with central bank officials this week to discuss the possibility of buying an Islamic-compliant lender in Indonesia, without giving details…”  You can read the Reuters article here, although there are hardly any details about this mysterious bid.

You’d think that American insurance companies have a bad enough reputation right now that they would avoid such a vile investment overseas.  The Reuters piece also outlines five Indonesian banks that are making preparations to set up new sharia-compliant units.  The growing market must be hard for U.S. businesses to resist.

Poor France.  They just thought Paris had to compete against London to become the center of Islamic banking.  Now they have to compete against Jakarta, and maybe New York some day, too.


Pakistan “misplaces” 7 percent of its revenues

October 22, 2009

An awfully understated article from Pakistan’s Daily Times yesterday revealed 13.5 billion rupees worth of “irregularities” in an audit of Pakistan’s zakat fund.  Here’s the full text:

Islamabad—The Auditor General of Pakistan has pointed out irregularities worth billions of rupees in the accounts of Central Zakat Fund (CZF) and public health institutions during the financial year 2007-08. In his report for the audit year 2008-09, the AG observed that the figures reported to the State Bank of Pakistan by the CZF differed by Rs 13.475 billion from the actual amount spent by the fund. The report said the CZF had also failed to produce the record of expenditure worth Rs 11.31 million and had transferred zakat funds worth Rs 23.5 million from accounts of the Health Welfare Committee (HWC) to the accounts of the Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital in Rawalpindi without authorisation. The AG said the HWC had purchased medicines worth Rs 56 million without transparent bidding and had issued medicines worth Rs 313,938 on “doubtful prescriptions”.

Let’s back up.  A government run zakat fund, you ask?  Isn’t zakat private charity (as explained in warm & fuzzy definitions like this one)?  Read the rest of this entry ?