NAB and Shari’a finance.
An examination of the discriminatory practices of the National Australia Bank (NAB)
A report on ABC’s Lateline programÂ has brought to the fore something which I have been talking about recently: Islamic finance coming to Australia. According to Ali Moore, Islamic banking is one of the fastest growing sectors in finance, fueled by petro-dollars and with Australia being near the hub of Islamic banking for the Asia-Pacific – Malaysia, there seems to be growing pressure on Australian financial institutions to cash in on the “halal dollar”.
Islamic banking works on the principle of risk sharing, as interest, referred to as “usary” is forbidden in Islamic or Shari’a law. This aspect of Islam is used to persuade non-Muslims into thinking that Islamic finance is somehow fairer than normal financial arrangements. This is the aspect that is most concerning. Muslims are waging a multi-tiered Jihad against Australians. At the bottom level there are various “peace and harmony forums”, infiltration and co-opting of mainstream Christian churches, then there is infiltration that reaches all the way up to high level financial institutions such as the National Australia Bank (NAB).
The concern is that while residents have some very small measure of redress against a Development Application (DA) for an Islamic school for example, there is nothing anybody can do in regards to Shari’a banking. Providing it follows all of the rules and regulations in Australia, it will become just another financial product. The sting in the tail is that it represents the imposition of Shari’a law in a secular society. And make no mistake, Islamic Banking is an expression of Shari’a law, a concept developed by the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood for the purposes of spreading the law of Allah throughout the world.
Timur Kuran, author of “Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism” states that Islamic banking is only a recent development. Hassan Al Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, created the idea as a vehicle by which Islamic law could be propagated as well as being a way of uniting the Muslim ummah. The origins of the Muslim Brotherhood itself can be traced back to Nazi Germany during the 1920’s. The relationship started after Al Banna had started writing letters to Adolf Hitler and after Hitler’s ascension to power, he sent a representative of German intelligence to Egypt to assist Al-Banna to become the Arab intelligence arm of the Third Reich.
The Muslim Brotherhood have been involved in the assassination of Egyptian presidents and are outlawed as a terrorist organization throughout much of the Middle East. The stated aim of the founder is to “[reclaim] Islam’s manifest destiny; an empire, founded in the seventh century, that stretched from Spain to Indonesia.” Islamic banking is one of the ways through which the Muslim Brotherhood aims to reclaim that destiny.
How Islamic banking works
In Islam the giving or receiving of interest, sometimes referred to as usury, is strictly forbidden as laid out in the Qur’an:
[2:275] Those who charge usury are in the same position as those controlled by the devil’s influence. This is because they claim that usury is the same as commerce. However, GOD permits commerce, and prohibits usury. Thus, whoever heeds this commandment from his Lord, and refrains from usury, he may keep his past earnings, and his judgment rests with GOD. As for those who persist in usury, they incur Hell, wherein they abide forever.
Arabic the word used in the Qur’an for interest or usury is Riba. Riba literally means “to grow” or “to add too”, however English translations use usury, not interest, in place of riba. Usury has a different meaning than interest, usury is usually defined as excessive or exploitative interest where as a modest amount of interest is a way to generate profit from the lending of money.
Because Mohammad died before being able to fully explain the meaning of riba, there is debate within Islamic economic jurisprudence on exactly what riba entails. Some suggest the it refers specifically to usury and that charging a modest interest rate (euphemistically referred to as “commission”) that is in line with the markets is halal (permitted), while others say that any addition to the principle at all is considered riba and therefore haraam (forbidden) and is considered a sin worse than rape.
Modern Islamic banks though they claim not to charge interest (or usury) simply provide (fixed rate interest) “loan” packages. While it is forbidden to charge interest, buying and then selling at a profit is permitted. This is the crux of how Islamic loans work. For example, if you wish to buy a motor vehicle worth $10,000, the bank will purchase the vehicle on your behalf then resell it to you for $14,000. This is legal in Islam providing they are two separate transactions.
Of course, if one were too break down the final payment amount, one would find that bank has pre-calculated their desired interest, added it to the principle then resold the vehicle to the debtor at that higher price. It has been found that Islamic mortgages are actually a few percentage points above the market rate, so non-Muslims who are attracted to the idea of an Islamic loan purely on the basis that they think they will escape interest payments should think again and most definitely read the fine print on any such agreement. The devil they say, is in the detail.
The other important feature of Islamic banking is that it is governed by special bodies known as a Sharia Supervisory Board (SSB) consisting of Imams who supervise the lending practices of the bank to ensure they remain at all times compliant with Shari’a. In this way we see how Islamic banking can be used to extend Shari’a law by stealth, extending the reach of orthodox Islam:
‘Islamic banks have a major responsibility to shoulder ….all the staff of such banks and customers dealing with them must be reformed Islamically and act within the framework of an Islamic formula, so that any person approaching an Islamic bank should be given the impression that he is entering a sacred place to perform a religious ritual, that is the use and employment of capital for what is acceptable and satisfactory to God.’
(Janachi, 1995. p.42 /Â Corporate governance in Islamic banksÂ ).
Nasser M.Suleiman in his article “Corporate governance in Islamic banks”, describes the primary purpose of an Islamic institution as being “an Islamic organisation must server God. It must develop a distinctive corporate culture, the main purpose of which is to create a collective morality and spirituality which, when combined with the production of goods and services, sustains the growth and advancement of the Islamic way of life.”
Sharia Supervisory Board
The SSB is formed by a body of Islamic scholars or Imams. In some cases the institution may be supervised by a sole Imam, in both cases the individual(s) must be qualified to issue fatwa’s ( religious rulings ) on Islamic economic jurisprudence. The role of the board is to ensure that the institution complies with all aspects of Shari’a law in regards to financial transactions. This generally means that those who constitute the SSB will be orthodox or fundamentalist Muslims.
Helena Christofi in her article on Islamic finance in Britain gives a good insight into the insidious nature of Islamic banking and some of the individuals who sit on SSB’s:
London is the leading Islamic banking center in the West. Islamist clerics with terrorist connections and a mission to Islamize Europe are infiltrating the United Kingdom through its banking system, and British officials are encouraging them. HSBC, Lloyds TSB, and Citigroup have opened Islamic banking units and branches throughout England. In 2005 the first stand-alone British Islamic bank, Islamic Bank of Britain, opened its doors. Middle Eastern Islamic banks have also set up shop in the UK.
Sheik Yousef Al-Qaradawi, a leading Sunni cleric, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and instigator and financier of terrorism in Europe and the Middle East, heads the fundamentalist European Council for Fatwa and Research, several of whose most prominent members sit on every major British Islamic bank’s shari’a board. Both Al-Qaradawi and the Council have expressed their hope that “Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror” by way of “preaching and ideology” or “by the sword.”
“Perhaps the next conquest [of Europe], Allah willing, will be by means of preaching and ideology. The conquest need not necessarily be by the sword […] Europe will see that it suffers from materialistic culture, and will seek an alternative […] It will find no lifesaver but the message of Islam […] Allah willing, Islam will return to Europe and the Europeans will convert to Islam. Then they themselves will be able to be the ones to disseminate Islam in the world.” ( quoting Al-Qaradawi )
[Â Brussels Journal â€“ 02/03/07Â ]
So clearly the intent is to use Islamic banking as a way on insinuating Islam into the West as intended by the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. It also allows fundamentalist Muslims to supervise such institutions thus legitimising their role within the Islamic community. This allows them to take on other roles outside of the scope of the SSB and thus allows them an avenue to advance their fundamentalist ideology.
Islamic banking in Australia.
No mainstream banking institution within Australia currently offers Shari’a banking although there at least two Shari’a credit unions, MCCA (Muslim Community Co-operative, Australia) and MCCU (Muslim Community Credit Union). Because these institutions offer halal banking services, this in effect means that Shari’a law is now operating within Australia, though in a limited scope.
The MCCA of course has it’s own SSB and promotes the fact on its website including a video ( not yet available ) that demonstrates it’s Shari’a compliance. The MCCA has two Islamic scholars on its SSB, Dr Mohamad Daud Bakar and Dr Ibrahim Abu Muhammad. The former is also an expert on Islamic medical law(!) and the latter earned his PhD from Al-Azhar University, from which most of the Islamic jurisprudence in the Middle East is derived.
Al-Azhar University has an interesting past. It is the university where Haj Amin al-Husseini studied Islamic law. Haj Amin al-Husseini of course is famous for his collusion with the Nazi regime during World War 2. Al-Azhar University also has a long history of issuing Islamic judgments on various aspects of Shari’a:
Rape victims must have abortions if found to be pregnant
jihadwatch / 30/12/07
Muslim Brotherhood operates within Al-Azhar University
Memri / 30/11/07
Dr Ibrahim Abu Muhammad seems to conduct his sermons and teachings in Arabic, some of which will be translated in a following update, however at least one article has been kindly translated by our friend Kayser Trad, fearless defender of fundamentalist Islam in Australia. The speech was delivered (in Arabic) by Dr Ibrahim Mohammad at a forum in December 2005. The two topics he covered was the life of Mohammad and the position of women in Islam. In his presentation on Mohammad he exhorts Muslims to follow the prophets example, being that Mohammad is of course the model of perfect human behaviour:
He was both a spiritual and an intellectual leader, his life example is a role model for all believers throughout history bringing purity to heart from sin and protection to the mind from superstition.
[Â sourceÂ ]
Here’s a prophet’s example that Dr. Mohammad seems to have skipped over in his presentation:
Mohammad of course spent much of his time killing Jews and Christians, torturing rabbi’s and later plundering and raping infidels â€“ apparently in the defense of his religion. Such is the legacy of Mohammad’s “moral guidance” and the mentality of the MCCA’s Shari’a advisors to hold up a thief,a warlord and a pirate as an example of excellent human morality.
Ironically it may be a large corporate entity such as the National Australia Bank (NAB) who may introduce Shari’a law to the masses. The NAB has been offering a scholarship to Muslim economics students to assist them in further study of Islamic finance, after which the NAB usually employs them. Obviously the NAB is looking at offering Halal finance.
It is no surprise that Australian financial institutions are looking providing Shari’a financial services given that Malaysia is considered to be the Islamic finance hub of the world and the incentives being put on to Australian financial institutions.
By incentives I mean that Muslim advocates appeal to commercial interests of the bank, promising a pot of gold at the end of the Shari’a rainbow as demonstrated by the following snippets.
The major centres for Islamic banking are in the Middle East, the UK and South East Asia, but now Australia is being touted as a market in the fight for the halal dollar.
Nearly $600 billion is held in global assets by Islamic finance institutions, and some of the world’s biggest banks, like Citigroup and Deutsche Bank, have Islamic banking arms.
Islamic banking bans the payment of interest, which is forbidden under Sharia law. For example, if you took out a home loan from an Islamic bank, the bank may buy the home and resell it to you for a higher price. You pay the loan back over 30 years, with no interest.
[Â ABC News â€“ 07/12/07Â ]
N.B: The great lie about Islamic finance not having interest is repeated endlessly. It is simply not true. Tests done on Islamic morgages in the U.K have found the “inbuilt” interest rates to several basis points above the market rate – 4.75-5% APR conventional rate versus 6.16-6.45% APR Islamic rate.
Pointing to Sydney’s reputation as the world’s third busiest financial centre after New York and London, Rafidah said: “I urge businessmen from New South Wales to leverage on Malaysia’s comparative advantage in financial services to penetrate new markets in Asean and West Asia, especially in the areas of Islamic financial services.”
Citing Islamic banking as the fastest growing banking segment in Malaysia, she said that Islamic banking showed robust growth with high profitability last year.
Syariah-compliant assets rose to US$34 billion or 13 percent in terms of market share from less than three percent a decade ago, she added.
Rafidah told the 290 Australians participating at today’s seminar that over the next 10 years, Islamic banking in Malaysia was expected to command 20 percent market share compared with conventional banking.
“Banks in Australia, and Sydney specifically, should take the opportunity to use Malaysian banks as a channel to access Islamic banking and financial markets in Asia and other parts of the world, especially in West Asia,” she said.
[Â World Halal Hub â€“ 06/08/07Â ]
The other area currently neglected is the potential for the sale of Australian-sourced financial products overseas. Australia offers well-established and stable political, regulatory and judicial systems. Returns on investments in Australia have, over the long terms favoured by Islamic investors, been very high and much of the investment in Australia is in Halal products such as land, mining and agriculture. The first company to issue products to investors globally is likely to encounter some regulatory hurdles, but they are also likely to tap into a deep and growing well of capital.
[Â Austrolabe â€“ 02/05/2007Â ]
The idea of luring people to Islam is not new, Mohammad himself did it and in copying him, advocates of Islamic finance are simply following the prophets example:
Ishaq:594 “The Apostle gave gifts to those whose hearts were to be won over, notably the chiefs of the army, to win them and through them the people.”
And that short paragraph on it’s own underpins the whole concept of Shari’a finance as espoused by its creator, Hassan al-Banna â€“ founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. He created the concept of Islamic finance as a vehicle to get Shari’a law implemented as far and as wide as possible. Make no mistake, this is an expression of Shari’a law, not some soft and cuddly aspect of “Muslim culture” – this is the real deal.
So why is the National Australia Bank offering such scholarships? One reason might be because the head of the NAB is a Muslim who believes that the Muslim community in Australia are “under serviced” in the financial sector:
NAB chief executive Ahmed Fahour said Australia’s 300,000-strong Islamic community was under-serviced.
“I’m not sure how big it (Islamic finance) will be, but what I do know is that we’re going to have a real good crack at it,” he said yesterday on the Muslim program Salam Cafe, broadcast on community television.
[Â The Australian â€“ 20/10/06Â ]
NAB Sheikh Fehmi El-Imam Scholarship
As part of its commitment to supporting communities around Australia , NAB is proud to present the NAB Sheikh Fehmi El-Imam Scholarship. Designed to help strengthen the links between NAB and the Muslim community, the Scholarship will enable an undergraduate student to continue their post-graduate studies in finance and economics, here in Australia or at an overseas university.
If you’re an undergraduate student in your final year of study and intend pursuing a Masters or PhD in finance and economics, you are invited to apply for this Scholarship. The successful applicant will be an active community participant with a track record of leadership and initiative.
A special feature of the Scholarship will be to encourage the development of Shariah compliant financial products and services*.
[Â NAB website]
Reading between the lines, this “scholarship” is clearly aimed at Muslims studying finance given the stated purpose is to “strengthen links between NAB and the Muslim community”. How would a non-Muslim have a “track record of leadership and services” in a Muslim community? Why would a non-Muslim want to encourage the development of Shari’a law in Australia? So bearing that in mind, lets have a look at this years winner –
Congratulations to our 2007 NAB Sheikh Fehmi El-Imam Scholarship Recipient, Imran Lum! Imran is currently studying a PhD (Islamic Banking) at the University of Melbourne. He also holds an M.A (Islamic Studies), Honours Level Arabic Language, Bachelor of Health Science and a South Australian Certificate of Education from Pembroke School. Add to this his fluency in four languages – and Imran is a most worthy recipient!
Imran Lum, our 2007 winner has received a one-off scholarship payment of $25,000 towards further study, and the option of employment with NAB (full time or part-time) for 12 months during or at the conclusion of his post-graduate studies (NAB’s standard governance procedures in relation to recruitment will apply.)
[Â NAB websiteÂ ]
Surprise, surprise, surprise as Gomer Pyle used to say. A Muslim studied in quite high levels of Shari’a law. There is no point in asking why the NAB is indulging in such discriminatory practices because the head of NAB Ahmed Fahour is a Muslim so his chosen “Jihad” is too assist the ummah by providing it with Islamic finance in Australia and thus incidentally furthering the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood as described previously. Secondly even if some NAB executives have reservations about assisting the introduction of Shari’a law into Australia, they are unlikely to have the freedom to speak up, partly from NAB corporate rules, partly from peer pressure but mostly silenced by political correctnes as the boss of Barclaycard found out recently:
42-year-old Marc Howells, the head of Barclaycard’s European arm, has been forced to resign his position after telling staffers that “the [quarterly] results were like Muslims – some were good, some were Shi’ite.”
“He had a very responsible job in a multi-national company. What on earth was he thinking of? There were a few embarrassed guffaws but everyone except him knew he was for the high jump the moment he said it,” said a company insider.
Howells parting with the company was a ‘redundancy under compromise’. A spokesman for the company declined to comment on the case but stated that they “have a robust approach to equality and diversity and do not tolerate discrimination.”
[Â short news â€“ 31/12/07Â ]
If you cannot make harmless jokes it’s difficult to see how people could raise real objections to Islamic finance being provided by their bank. No, they would not tolerate discrimination, unless of course it is in favour of the ummah which is what the NAB Sheikh Fehmi El-Imam Scholarship is about. Can anybody imagine a bank in Australia running a scholarship that only Christians could apply for?
Who is Sheikh Fehmi El-Imam?
Sheikh Fehmi El-Imam came to prominence in Australia when he took over from Sheikh Taj el-din al-Hilaly as the grand mufti of Australia. Although El-Imam was touted as being more “moderate” then Hilaly, he did speak at a pro Hizbollah rally in 2006 (AJN / 10/06/07) and has vigorously defended Hilaly on other occasions.
The new Mufti of Australia says his predecessor, Sheikh Taj el-Din Al Hilali is a good man who has been misunderstood by the media.
Speaking at his Melbourne mosque, Sheikh El-Imam tried to avoid questions about his controversial predecessor, who once compared scantily clad women to pieces of meat.
The new mufti says his predecessor is a good man and has urged the media to be more accepting of people from other cultures.
[Â ABC News â€“ 11/06/2007Â ]
Sheik Fehmi promotes FGM and announced Â “an end to segregation in Australian mosques within one year “– Nobember 22 2008. Â Lets take a look in November and see what happened…/ed
Sheikh El-Imam has been in the news before, expressing his surprise that some good Muslims boys had been rounded up in an anti-terrorism raid:
THEY sported beards, they professed to be “good Muslims” and frequented mosques in the northern suburbs. Their families and neighbours believed they were quiet men of faith living peaceably in the community.
The followers of Abdul Nacer Benbrika were by and large from Lebanese migrant families who had fled a brutal civil war; the parents were hard-working and respected.
Most worshipped regularly at Preston mosque, where cleric Sheikh Fehmi Naji el-Imam was at a loss to understand or explain their alleged activities.
“Generally, I know them very well and they are good. They used to come to the mosque, they carried out their duties here and shared in the services. They came in and out peacefully. No problem whatsoever,” he said. “That why I don’t understand what they were involved in outside.”
This image stands in marked contrast to the one painted by authorities: of a secret cell of young men hatching plans to unleash a “catastrophic” terrorist attack at home.
[ The Age â€“ 10/11/05 ]
Of course el-Imam was at a loss to explain, they were being good Muslims, he must have been pleased with their revitalized and pious behaviour. Clearly a orthodox cleric would be pleased to see his charges adopt a fundamentalist approach to Islam, to see them grow in the ways of Allah and to follow the prophets example. He is at a loss to explain because within an Islamic context “the boys” were doing nothing wrong, they were only doing what Allah has commanded them: to conduct Jihad, to struggle in way of Allah.
According to a post on the Australian Islam Monitor Sheik El-Imam supports FGM (female genital mutilation):
Pamela Bone reports an interview with Sheik Fehmi â€“she asks â€”â€“is this the same Sheik Fehmi el-Imam who some years ago said to this reporter- most kindly- in relation to that subject “You probably don’t need it but women in hot countries do!”
(Age, Saturday 21/7/2001, p7)
It’s worth reading both articles in the link above.
While interest in Islamic Finance for traditional mainstream banks may be purely commercial, the NAB clearly has more than commercial interest. The Muslim CEO of NAB stated that the goal is to provide Halal finance to Australia’s Muslim community and it’s clear that this type of infiltration in commercial institutions is concerned with furthering the spread of Shari’a law in Western countries.
The NAB has decided to embark on a path of discriminatory practices and risks aligning itself, however indirectly, with the likes and ideology of groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood whom in turn had strong links with the Third Reich. Worse still, they are planning to introduce Shari’a law in the form of Islamic Finance to the masses. Shari’a law is Allah’s Law, a law that involves the subjugation of non-Muslims and women, a law that involves cutting off hands and feet and in some cases, crucification. The ultimate expression of Shari’a law is found in Jihad.
Do not think that Islamic finance is just some harmless culturally sensitive financial product. It is just another crooked scheme conceptualised by Mohammad, formalised by the Muslim Brotherhood and now funded by Saudi petro-dollars. Islamic mortgages have higher interest rates than standard mortgages, because the big lie behind Islamic finance is that there is interest, they just call it by another name or simply hide it.
The NAB being a financial concern will clearly be sensitive to losing money, so the best way to inform the NAB that you don’t want them to introduce Shari’a law in Australia is to take your business elsewhere â€“ if they want to cater to a minority of a mere “300,000” , let them eat halal!