Posts Tagged ‘micro-finance’

h1

Yunus swoops down on Haiti

October 29, 2012

Multi-millionaire Muslim banker Muhammad Yunus is pledging to load Haiti with hundreds of thousands of dollars in new debt to finance a new “plantation” and some chicken farms.  This individual, who once won a Nobel prize, has come under increased scrutiny in recent years for his suspicious business and philanthropic activities:

  • Yunus was the subject of an investigation by the government of Norway in 2010 for misappropriating Norwegian donations made to his bank.  (The Times, Dec. 3, 2010)
  • Yunus was released on bail over slander charges from officials in Bangladesh, who have also investigated Yunus for tax evasion.  (Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Jan. 18, 2011)
  • “A separate review of [Yunus’s Grameen Bank] has been underway since May this year.” (Business Recorder, Aug. 3, 2012)
  • “Bangladesh’s cabinet Thursday ordered a new probe into Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus.”  (Business Recorder, Aug. 3, 2012)

But the Associated Press doesn’t mention any of the recent controversies surrounding Yunus, and presents his promised loan as a groundbreaking effort to create jobs and reduce poverty in the hard-hit Caribbean nation.  The AP doesn’t include a single negative, critical, or alternate point-of-view, source, or quotation in its “news” article, which reads more like a Yunus/Grameen press release than an act of journalism:

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Nobel peace laureate Mohammad Yunus announced Saturday that his pro-business development group is financing several endeavors through a mix of loans and equity.

The projects that incorporate Yunus’ development philosophy of “social business” include two poultry farms, a bakery and a plantation of jatropha plants that can be used for biodiesel, offering an alternative energy source while creating jobs for 200 farmers.

The amount invested in each will range from $80,000 to $500,000, and feature loans with interest rates ranging from 6-10 percent.

Such “social businesses” must each have a social mission like a non-governmental organization, but also generate revenues to cover costs like a profit-making business.

Yunus, an international development expert, made the announcement on the first of a three-day trip to Haiti that includes field visits and a conference examining ways to use his development philosophy to ease poverty in Haiti.

It was the second time Yunus had come to Haiti since visiting a year ago to introduce his “social business” philosophy to the impoverished Caribbean nation…

Prior Money Jihad coverage on Islamic activity in Haiti has revealed that Muslim Hands, a British Islamic charity that belongs to the Hamas-funding Union of Good network, has worked there with the Zakat Foundation, an Illinois-based charity.  The Global Muslim Brotherhood Report has also reported on Islamic Relief USA, a Muslim Brotherhood-linked charity, for its aid distribution in Haiti.

Why is the island so appealing to Muslim investors or NGOs when there is almost zero indigenous Islamic population in Haiti?  Because Muslim groups see failed states as a perfect breeding ground for their purposes.  Think of Sudan, Afghanistan, and Somalia.  Once Islamist elements realize that a central government is weak, that poverty and social chaos are on the rise, they swoop in to fill the void, and transform society into something far bleaker than what preceded it.

Advertisements
h1

Muslim banker under renewed scrutiny

August 12, 2012

Eyes on Yunus

The mainstream media and the Internet search engines have generally circled the wagons to suppress negative news coverage of Muhammad Yunus, a prominent Muslim banker.  Search for his name and you’ll find only glowing, positive biographies and tributes to the man.  But dig a little deeper and you’ll find an increasingly checkered record of financial and legal misdeeds despite the accolades for him from U.S. politicians, journalists, and academics.

Money Jihad remains watchful.  From the Business Recorder earlier this month:

Bangladesh orders new probe into Yunus

August 03, 2012

Bangladesh’s cabinet Thursday ordered a new probe into Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus which will check for irregularities during his time as head of microfinance pioneer Grameen Bank, an official said. The 72-year-old “banker to the poor” was forced from the institution last year, due to what his supporters say is a government vendetta against him.

A separate review of the bank has been underway since May this year. Yunus, who fell out with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after talking about going into politics, was officially fired for exceeding the mandatory retirement age of 60. He challenged the move in the Supreme Court, but lost.

“The investigation will cover the period of beyond that mandatory retirement age and see whether the facilities he enjoyed during that period were lawful,” the government”s cabinet secretary Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said. It will investigate in particular “if he enjoyed any tax exemption when he brought foreign currency home during his tenure as the managing director”, he said.

The findings of the investigation by the Bank and Financial Institution Department and the National Board of Revenue are to be handed to the cabinet within the shortest possible time, he added. Yunus, who won his 2006 Nobel Prize for pioneering the microfinance system in which small loans are made to poor entrepreneurs, is seen as one of the world”s leading anti-poverty activists and has many powerful foreign supporters.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a personal friend, heaped praise on Yunus during a visit to Dhaka in May and urged Hasina’s government to maintain “an environment where civil society groups operate freely”. The same month Yunus expressed fears that the bank he founded to put his concept of microfinance into practice would be taken over by the Bangladesh government.

Don’t forget that Yunus was the subject of an investigation by the government of Norway in 2010 for misappropriating Norwegian donations made to his bank.  Last year, Yunus was released on bail over slander charges from officials in Bangladesh, who have also investigated Yunus for tax evasion.

h1

Weekly word: microfinance

December 8, 2010

We can solve all the world’s problems by loaning money to folks who wouldn’t normally qualify for loans.  That was a great economic recipe for America, right?

As long as we give it a technical sounding name like microfinancing, micro-credit, or micro-loans, it’ll sound official and well thought out.  In his textbook, Cultural Anthropology, Jack David Eller offers this definition of microfinancing:  “A recent development approach which provides very small loans directly to poor individuals or families in poor states so that they can start small businesses or expand their already-existing businesses.”*

By the way, it was just revealed that Muhammad Yunus, one of the only Muslims to have ever won a Nobel prize, is being investigated by Norway for bilking Western nations for a hundred million dollars that was supposed to be lent to poor (Muslims) in Bangladesh and around the world, but was instead directed by Yunus into other companies that he owned (h/t Religion of Peace).

Remember that the latest innovation in Sharia finance is to combine the “success” of micro-credit with “ethical” Islamic banking to create sharia micro-loans to grow the economy of Gaza.  What could possibly go wrong?

*Eller, David Jack.  Cultural Anthropology (London:  Routledge, 2009)

h1

Shilling for Islamic micro-loans

May 1, 2010

The Spring 2010 issue of the World Policy Journal includes an article entitled “Both a Borrower and Lender Be: Can Islamic Microfinance Bring Peace to Palestine?”  The link to the full article doesn’t seem to work, but here is the editor’s summary:

Little by little, a new economic stability is being created in the rural communities of the West Bank. Could this be a path to a workable two-state solution? Investment banker and legal advisor Kenneth E. Barden reports on shariah-based micro-finance, which “blends micro-loans with respect for Islamic law.” Indeed, the prohibitions of Islam against usury have long been a barrier to the development of modern personal finance in the region, and fewer than 10 percent of West Bank residents have a checking account. Into this vacuum have stepped pioneering new, micro-finance organizations that are emphasizing a personal partnership between the lender and borrower in compliance with the cultural sensitivities of the parties involved. And, as Barden suggests, this new lending model could finally be the answer to meaningful economic growth and stability.

Got it?  According to Mr. Barden, a U.S. attorney who is now based in the West Bank, only Islamic finance can provide development and growth in the Middle East.  Friends, it is Islam that retards economic growth in the Middle East in the first place!  Why do Western bankers and lawyers keep playing into Muslim fear and paranoia about charging interest on loans?