Does Islamic finance have a place in Canada?

Tarek Fatah and Walid Hejazi debate the pros and cons of sharia banking

(Hasan Jamali/AP Photo)

Around $900 billion in assets across the globe are managed by Islamic banks that operate according to sharia, an interpretation of Islamic law. In recent years, so-called Islamic finance has been growing at a rate of 15-20 per cent a year, and proved remarkably resilient to the financial crisis. Proponents of the relatively new sector point to its back-to-basics financial structures, which have made it popular with a number of non-Mulsim clients who have little appetite for risk. Critics, though, say the restrictions it comes with–prohibitions, for example, on paying interest and investing in anything that involves porn, pork or booze–are archaic and unworkable.

Canada, with its 1.3 million Muslims, has lagged behind countries like the U.K. and the U.S. in embracing sharia-compliant financial products. None of the country’s big banks currently offer sharia-compliant services, though some smaller players do. Toronto-based UM Financial Inc., which issued home mortgages conforming to Islamic law, filed for bankruptcy last year, leaving 170 Muslim borrowers in limbo, and opening a legal can of worms. Is the firm’s failure evidence that Canada should steer clear of Islamic finance; or proof that the country needs more of it–i.e. that the banks and policymakers need to bring the practice into the mainstream, with tighter rules and better oversight? We asked the experts to chime in. 

Tarek Fatah is the founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a liberal-minded grassroots organization. He is also the author of Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic lllusion of an Islamic State, among other works. Walid Hejazi is associate professor of international business at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, where he is currently teaching an MBA course on Islamic finance.

What is Islamic finance?

Fatah: In the words of one New York Muslim banker, Islamic finance is little more than “a $300 billion deception.” According to Muhammad Saleem, former president and CEO of Park Avenue Bank, “Islamic banks do not practise what they preach: they all charge interest, but disguised in Islamic garb.” In fact, Islamic finance is just one more front in the worldwide Islamist movement’s attempt to depict all things Western as essentially inimical to Islam.

Its foundational doctrine comes from the writings of two people: Abul Ala Maudoodi of the Jamaat-e-Islami movement in Pakistan and Hassan al-Banna of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. While these two pillars of the Pan-Islamist movement propagated jihad and war against the West, they also recognized the role international financial institutions could play in carrying out their political objectives. The theory was put into practice when the Islamist Pakistani military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq established sharia law in Pakistan, forcing the country’s public-sector banks to run their operations based on Islamic principles and without the role of interest. As professor Timur Kuran, who taught Islamic thought at the University of Southern California, notes in his brilliant book Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism, “There is no distinctly Islamic way to build a ship, or defend a territory, or cure an epidemic, or forecast the weather.”

Hejazi: Islamic Finance allows individuals or companies to invest in conformity with the principles of Islam. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, though, Islamic finance has been extending its appeal to a wide range of clients–regardless of religion–because it relies on rather conservative and low-risk banking practices.

It is critical to emphasize that sharia-compliant or Islamic financial products can be made available to anyone–not just Muslims. There are five key elements that must be avoided in Islamic finance: interest (riba); speculation (maisir); uncertainty (gharar); unjust enrichment/unfair exploitation; and unethical purpose. I will focus on the most well-known–and, I would argue, the least understood–dimension of Islamic finance: the ban on interest.

Many interpret this ban to mean that money can be borrowed for free. This is not the case. Rather, it implies that the investor must have a stake in the underlying asset. What does this mean in practice? Here’s an example (in which I am abstracting from differences that can arise in risk and administrative costs): Suppose you purchase a home for $300,000. Under a conventional mortgage, you may opt for a five-year, fixed-rate mortgage, say at five per cent, and amortized over 25 years. Your monthly payment would be about $1,745. Assuming that interest rates stay at five per cent, the amount that you would have to pay over the 25 year amortization period would be $1,744.81*300 months over 25 years = $523,443.00. In total, the homeowner will have repaid the $300,000 in principal plus $223,443.00 in interest. In reality, though, interest rates would vary and the mortgage would be renewed at whatever the prevailing rate is upon maturity of the mortgage.

With one form of sharia-compliant mortgage, the bank would buy the home on behalf of the customer for $300,000 and then sell it to the customer for $523,443.00. It means that over the 25-year period, the customer pays the fixed payment of $1,744.81, but unlike in the case of a conventional mortgage, there are no changes in these payments over the duration of the mortgage. A second difference is that late penalties are not allowed–the bank cannot charge punitive fees if a homeowner, for example, is laid off and has difficulty making some of the payments. It all goes back to the key principles above around partnership, fairness and eliminating uncertainty.

Should Canada embrace Islamic finance?

Hejazi: It is in the interest of Canadians to embrace Islamic finance, both on the retail and the commercial side. On the retail side, Statistics Canada estimates that Muslims will be about seven per cent of the Canadian population by 2031. A recent study prepared for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported evidence indicating that the demand for sharia-compliant mortgages currently exceeds supply. This demand will only increase. We need to bring these Canadians into the financial mainstream and give them better access to a type of financing that is consistent with their religious principles. Doing so is entirely consistent with fundamental Canadian values and our proud history. These sharia-compliant mortgages would be profitable and self-financing–they would impose no extra cost to the institutions offering them or the Canadian government. In addition, these mortgages would be available to all Canadians, who feel that the structure of the mortgage better fits their personal risk and financial profile.

Perhaps more important, though, is the commercial side. As my research has documented, Canada needs more foreign investment and our country has been slipping behind in terms of its attractiveness to foreign investors. Now, the Gulf region has a tremendous amount of excess liquidity–upwards of a trillion dollars! However, investors from that region often require their investments be sharia-compliant. The Rotman School, in conjunction with Deloitte, Bennet Jones, Torys, and King and Spalding have developed case studies in which we looked at whether sharia-compliant financial structures would be more costly than conventional ones in the context of three major Canadian projects. Our analysis found that the costs associated with a sharia financing structure were similar to those of the conventional financing structure. Having a capability within Canada to undertake these transactions will make Canada more attractive to foreign investment, and this will help grow the economy and enhance the prosperity of all Canadians.

Fatah: Canadian banks and financial institutions are already flirting with the idea. Can we blame them? Who wouldn’t want gullible consumers who demand zero interest on their deposits but are willing to pay more on their monthly mortgage payments, all in the name of Islam and avoiding eternal hellfire. Islamists are lining up with such icons of global capitalism as Citibank NA, HSBC Holdings PLC, and Barclays PLC, which have all endorsed sharia banking and started offering Islamic financing products to a vulnerable Muslim population.

Promoting these products, of course, are a number of prominent Muslim corporate lawyers and bankers. This push from Muslim banking executives working inside the corporate world has had some success. While the Royal Bank of Canada didn’t find enough market interest for a sharia finance product it tested a few years ago, other Canadian banks are smelling easy pickings and lining up to wear the Islamic mantle. Scotiabank and Toronto-Dominion Bank have been quietly considering whether to start offering sharia-compliant products as part of the big banks’ strategy to reach out to a growing “immigrant population,” a politically correct way of labeling Muslims. Canada should not permit this charade of lies and deception posing as multicultural banking to segregate its Muslim population from the rest of society. If it does, there will be a huge cost to our values and to our future as well as to vulnerable Muslim-Canadians who are being blackmailed into paying more and receiving less for their banking needs.

Suppose mainstream Canadian institutions started offering Islamic financial instruments, making them widely available throughout the country. How would this affect, if at all, the integration of Canada’s Muslim minority?

Fatah: The question assumes there is one Muslim community. I suggest there are many and they will react in different manner. My cursory study of the clients of now-bankrupt mortgage lender UM Financial shows that the company appeals mostly to customers from the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent and Caucasian converts to Islam, with Arab-Canadians and Iranian-Canadians virtually absent. Thus the integration of Canada’s Muslims into the rest of society has very little to do with the success or failure of Islamic banking; it has everything to do with the failed policies of multiculturalism that encourage segregation and make it difficult to propagate Canadian values that have crystallized over 400 years of Western civilization and are the core of who we are as a country. Charlatans attempting to squeeze money out of an already marginalized minority community should be an affront to all of us—Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

Hejazi: If the mainstream financial institutions offered sharia-compliant financial instruments, such as mortgages, savings accounts, mutual funds, and so on, this would go a long way towards integrating conservative Muslims into mainstream financial markets and keeping our financial system strong and sound. At present sharia-compliant financial securities are not available in the mainstream; hence conservative Muslims who feel they must use sharia-complaint financial instruments are forced to deal with smaller, less well-known, less well-funded, and likely less well-managed financial institutions. Providing these Muslim-Canadians with this option does not come with any negatives.

Who opts for sharia-based financial instruments? To whom does this model appeal?

Hejazi: The Financial Times reports that the assets within the Islamic finance sector have now reached US$900 billion, double what they amounted to in 2006. This growth is remarkable given that it occurred during the global financial crisis.

A recent report by the International Monetary Fund attributes the growth in Islamic finance to three factors: increasing demand from the growing number of Muslims living in Western countries; growing oil wealth among the Islamic members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries; and the attractiveness of sharia-compliant financial products and services to non-Muslims seeking ethical investments or fair financial products, as well as lower-risk, back-to-basics banking.

Fatah: The primary movers and shakers of sharia-based financial instruments are the rulers of the petro-dollar states of the Persian Gulf. In the working class neighborhoods of Karachi, Jakarta, Cairo or Tehran, no one buys into this “paying more and receiving less” model. They may vote for Islamist parties, but when it comes to their hard-earned money, they trust their banks and credit unions, not the mullahs bearing tickets to paradise.

Even in Pakistan, which has played a pioneering role in Islamic finance, few have embraced the Islamic banking institutions. Even in Saudi Arabia, home of the Islamic Development Bank, no-interest sharia banks did not find favour with the country’s monetary agency, SAMA. In fact, as pious a leader as the late King Faisal allowed SAMA to place its surplus funds in interest-bearing accounts during the country’s cash-strapped years in the 1950s and 60s. One thing is for sure: Muslims have voted with their feet and their chequebooks.

UM Financial, a Canada-based Islamic financial institution, recently went belly up. What lessons does the bankruptcy hold for Islamic finance in Canada?

Hejazi:  At present, Canadians seeking sharia-compliant mortgages and other financial products are forced to turn to institutions which operate at the periphery of the financial system, such as UM Financial, because these services are not offered through mainstream financial institutions. As is now well known, Canada’s financial markets are among the most stable and well-managed globally. A collapse such as that at UM Financial is not consistent with Canada’s image, nor should such institutions be able to put so many Canadian homeowners at risk. Canada needs the financial mainstream to offer these products. It is mainstream institutions that should be reaping a profit from these instruments.

The demise of UM Financial makes the case for bringing Islamic finance into the mainstream even stronger. Besides, as more Canadian institutions enter the Islamic finance market, competition will force the cost of sharia-banking products down to the level of their conventional equivalents. As noted in a recent CMHC study, in Canada, sharia-compliant mortgages currently cost between one and three per cent more than comparable conventional mortgages due to their modest supply and firms’ relative inexperience with these products, as well as a lack of access to funding. In contrast, sharia-compliant mortgages in the U.S. cost only 0.4 to one per cent more than their conventional counterparts.

Fatah: The bankruptcy of UM Financial tells a simple truth: most Muslims would not want anything to do with financial institutions that promise a path to Paradise while enriching the pockets of those who sell Islamic indulgences. Court documents reveal that, just a few days before UM Financial went into receivership, its Sharia Advisory Board invoiced it for $2.1 million. This amount was ostensibly the fee charged for providing advice to UM Financial on the compliance of its products and services to sharia law.

In a scene that could have come straight out of a Bollywood crime thriller, UM Financial CEO Omar Kalair made this payment in gold and silver bullion at a Rexdale Parking lot, late into the night. The recipient, Joseph Adam, the finance manager of Multicultural Consultancy Canada, is said to have later flown to Egypt and is now reported missing—along with the gold. Canada has no room for charlatans who bring the medieval values of the pre-industrial era into the twenty-first century. Enough of this please.




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Does Islamic finance have a place in Canada?

  1. It used to be a Christian practice as well.

    ‘The First Council of Nicaea, in 325, forbade clergy from engaging in usury[9] (canon 17). At the time, usury was interest of any kind, and the canon merely forbade the clergy to lend money on interest above 1 percent per month (12.7% APR). Later ecumenical councils applied this regulation to the laity.[9][10]

    Lateran III decreed that persons who accepted interest on loans could receive neither the sacraments nor Christian burial.[11] Pope Clement V made the belief in the right to usury a heresy in 1311, and abolished all secular legislation which allowed it.[12] Pope Sixtus V condemned the practice of charging interest as “detestable to God and man, damned by the sacred canons and contrary to Christian charity.”[12]‘

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usury#Historical_meaning

    • Heck, St. Augustine felt the practice of insurance was the work of the devil!

      • LOL I believe he thought math of any kind was the work of the devil!

        • De Genesi ad Litteram

          Quapropter bono christiano, sive mathematici, sive quilibet impie
          divinantium, maxime dicentes vera, cavendi sunt, ne consortio
          daemoniorum animam deceptam, pacto quodam societatis irretiant.
          II, xvii, 37

          Translation published in Mathematics in Western Culture
          (1953): The good Christian should beware the mathematician and all those
          who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the
          mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit
          and to confine man in the bonds of hell.

          Modern translation by J.H. Taylor in Ancient Christian Writers
          (1982): Hence, a devout Christian must avoid astrologers and all
          impious soothsayers, especially when they tell the truth, for fear of
          leading his soul into error by consorting with demons and entangling
          himself with the bonds of such association.

          Note: The well known, but incorrect English translation was published on page 3 of Morris Kline’s Mathematics in Western Culture (1953). This book is a favorite with math students and is still in print. The Latin word mathematici
          derives from the Greek meaning of “something learned” and refers mainly
          to astrologers. This was the chief branch of mathematics at the time
          but has been replaced in modern times by a plethora of other branches.
          According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, the word “mathematician” still meant astrologer as late as 1710.

          ——————————————————————————————————-

          So no, Augustine didn’t think “math of any kind” was the work of the
          devil.   Which makes sense, given that he was platonist, and platonists
          love math

          • Hmmm interesting.

            I just have the quote

            The good Christian should beware of mathematicians and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and confine man in the bonds of Hell.

            Also

            One does not read in the Gospel that the Lord said: “I will send you the Paraclete who will teach you about the course of the sun and moon.” For He willed to make them Christians, not mathematicians. As quoted in Science Teaching : The Role of History and Philosophy of Science (1994) by Michael R. Matthews, p. 195

            I suppose mathematician could translate as astrologer…..funny given the christian dependence on astrology! LOL

            Thank you for this!

        • I don’t really care what pre-medieval christian theologians did with their money, I wouldn’t bank with them either! Islamic financial math is pretty funny too when it comes to using fractions in determining a woman’s share of an inheritance, for instance. Ever try to figure out that aspect of sharia finance using straight math (ie. math where 6 is not 9, and 2+2 does equal 4)? Only works out if the numbers and fractions in the quran are not ascribed any defined, meaningful numerical or proportional value… Have a look, and good luck squaring that off with our constitutional protection of the equality of men and women. 

          Sura 4:11
          GOD decrees a will for the benefit of your children; the male gets twice the share of the female. If the inheritors are only women, more than two, they get two-thirds of what is bequeathed. If only one daughter is left, she gets one-half. The parents of the deceased get one-sixth of the inheritance each, if the deceased has left any children. If he left no children, and his parents are the only inheritors, the mother gets one-third. If he has siblings, then the mother gets one-sixth. All this, after fulfilling any will the deceased has left, and after paying off all debts. When it comes to your parents and your children, you do not know which of them is really the best to you and the most beneficial. This is GOD’s law. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.

          Sura 4:12
          You get half of what your wives leave behind, if they had no children. If they had children, you get one-fourth of what they leave. All this, after fulfilling any will they had left, and after paying off all debts. They get one-fourth of what you leave behind, if you had no children. If you had children, they get one-eighth of what you bequeath. All this, after fulfilling any will you had left, and after paying off all debts. If the deceased man or woman was a loner, and leaves two siblings, male or female, each of them gets one-sixth of the inheritance. If there are more siblings, then they equally share one-third of the inheritance. All this, after fulfilling any will, and after paying off all debts, so that no one is hurt. This is a will decreed by GOD. GOD is Omniscient, Clement.

          Sura 4:176
          They consult you; say, “GOD advises you concerning the single person. If one dies and leaves no children, and he had a sister, she gets half the inheritance. If she dies first, he inherits from her, if she left no children. If there were two sisters, they get two-thirds of the inheritance. If the siblings are men and women, the male gets twice the share of the female.” GOD thus clarifies for you, lest you go astray. GOD is fully aware of all things.

          • Reference:
            http://www.al-islam.org/ucberkeley/womens-inheritance/1.htm

            A Determine Share: A Fraction?

            Upon first glance the Qur’anic text revealed does not seem to decree fairness or repair woman’s status quo. Especially when Qur’an says blatantly that the share of males is twice of that to the female—seems that Islam made little progress in regards to women’s share in inheritance! Upon closer investigation one finds the reasoning. The two to one ratio is because a woman is entitled to mahr (Arabic: dower), and maintenance from the man she marries and is free from defense of the community. This is because the husband’s responsibilities in a marriage are far more than a woman’s especially in regards to financial matters.

            Something to note here: it is not enough to quote single verses without understanding their context and their link to the rest of Islam. This is a well understood principle amongst Islamic Scholars.

            And to further help you understand why the share of a woman is less: All muslims are highly recommended (almost compulsory) to marry throughout life. That being said, the man is given the RESPONSIBILITY (obligation prescribed by Islam) of providing for the family and the wife. However, both the husband and the wife are permitted to work in Islam. What this implies is that the woman has no RESPONSIBILITY (no obligation prescribed by Islam) to actually use her money to buy groceries, pay rent, etc.

            To put this into perspective: suppose a muslim couple earns 40k a year each: the man makes 40k, and the wife makes 40k. Now after the year is done, the man HAD to pay rent and HAD to provide groceries…so his savings end up being way less than 40K (close to 10K)… The wife, on the other hand does not HAVE to buy any of these things for the children, home, etc. So her savings can actually end up being 40k.

            For this reason, the fact that the woman has no financial responsibility in the running of the household, the prescribed inheritance shares are such. When Islam came, it liberated the woman, and gave her many rights that previous generations had not.

            “Considered to be the predecessors to Islam, Judaic and Christian traditions concerning inheritance were long established centuries before Islam came. Both traditions made some improvements compared to ancient civilizations. Talmudic Law gave the right of daughters to inherit only in the absence of brothers and under the condition that she marries within her father’s clan. Yet at the same time under no circumstance did inheritance go to the mother, and if there were no daughters the inheritance went to the husband’s brothers, then his family, but not his wife.[15] One reason for a daughter’s inheritance was to provide dowry for her husband since this escaped the condition of purchasing her as a slave.[16]“

            Reference (Uberkeley): http://www.al-islam.org/ucberkeley/womens-inheritance/1.htm

        • I don’t really care what pre-medieval christian theologians did with their money, I wouldn’t bank with them either! Islamic financial math is pretty funny too when it comes to using fractions in determining a woman’s share of an inheritance, for instance. Ever try to figure out that aspect of sharia finance using straight math (ie. math where 6 is not 9, and 2+2 does equal 4)? Only works out if the numbers and fractions in the quran are not ascribed any defined, meaningful numerical or proportional value… Have a look, and good luck squaring that off with our constitutional protection of the equality of men and women. 

          Sura 4:11
          GOD decrees a will for the benefit of your children; the male gets twice the share of the female. If the inheritors are only women, more than two, they get two-thirds of what is bequeathed. If only one daughter is left, she gets one-half. The parents of the deceased get one-sixth of the inheritance each, if the deceased has left any children. If he left no children, and his parents are the only inheritors, the mother gets one-third. If he has siblings, then the mother gets one-sixth. All this, after fulfilling any will the deceased has left, and after paying off all debts. When it comes to your parents and your children, you do not know which of them is really the best to you and the most beneficial. This is GOD’s law. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.

          Sura 4:12
          You get half of what your wives leave behind, if they had no children. If they had children, you get one-fourth of what they leave. All this, after fulfilling any will they had left, and after paying off all debts. They get one-fourth of what you leave behind, if you had no children. If you had children, they get one-eighth of what you bequeath. All this, after fulfilling any will you had left, and after paying off all debts. If the deceased man or woman was a loner, and leaves two siblings, male or female, each of them gets one-sixth of the inheritance. If there are more siblings, then they equally share one-third of the inheritance. All this, after fulfilling any will, and after paying off all debts, so that no one is hurt. This is a will decreed by GOD. GOD is Omniscient, Clement.

          Sura 4:176
          They consult you; say, “GOD advises you concerning the single person. If one dies and leaves no children, and he had a sister, she gets half the inheritance. If she dies first, he inherits from her, if she left no children. If there were two sisters, they get two-thirds of the inheritance. If the siblings are men and women, the male gets twice the share of the female.” GOD thus clarifies for you, lest you go astray. GOD is fully aware of all things.

          • Sharia law is the same as the laws in the Old Testament of the Bible….a volume that Jews, ‘Christians’ and Muslims follow.

            ‘Western society’ has done all this as well.

            We’ve moved on from it for the most part, but there are christian groups in the west who want a return to all those ancient practices.

            Stoning included.

  2. Muslims the world over must be so glad to have Tarek Fatah to tell them exactly how to practice their religion.  If he was mennonite he would be busy telling all his fellow mennonites which, if any buildings it was proper to have electricity in. 

    As long as Islamic investment vehicles meet the regulatory requirements of the jurisdiction they are based and the markets in which they trade, and properly inform their clients of their methods, there’s no harm in it at all.  In fact, it’s a perfect conflux of capitalism and freedom of religion, and should be commended.

  3. There is good and bad in every system created by humans – be that political, social, or economic. It’s the people in the system that are bad, not the system itself. The ‘conventional’ finance industry has little room to sneer at the alternative finance sector, giver the crooks and charlatans on Wall Street and in the City of London that have thrown 99% of the world into economic depression. That said, Islamic finance is not inhabited by saints either, as Islamic bankers are just human beings and like most people who join the financial markets are motivated by greed and personal aggrandisement. However, Islamic finance, based on Islamic economic theory starts out by taking a moral standpoint, arguing that people should not be able to make money, from well, just money. Instead they should work to try and create wealth – real tangible assets for the good of the community. It stipulates fair and transparent dealing, makes lenders take an active equity-based (as opposed to just capital-based) position in a joint venture and sees the bank share the risk (as well as the reward) with the entrepreneur. That’s the theory – Islamic economics is a ‘third way’ that navigates between command-style centralized economics, and free-wheeling, market-based, greed-driven Western capitalism. However the practice is somewhat different in modern Islamic banking. To learn more go to The Islamic Globe at:  http://tinyurl.com/5wf3ypr

  4. There is good and bad in every system created by humans – be that political, social, or economic. It’s the people in the system that are bad, not the system itself. The ‘conventional’ finance industry has little room to sneer at the alternative finance sector, giver the crooks and charlatans on Wall Street and in the City of London that have thrown 99% of the world into economic depression. That said, Islamic finance is not inhabited by saints either, as Islamic bankers are just human beings and like most people who join the financial markets are motivated by greed and personal aggrandisement. However, Islamic finance, based on Islamic economic theory starts out by taking a moral standpoint, arguing that people should not be able to make money, from well, just money. Instead they should work to try and create wealth – real tangible assets for the good of the community. It stipulates fair and transparent dealing, makes lenders take an active equity-based (as opposed to just capital-based) position in a joint venture and sees the bank share the risk (as well as the reward) with the entrepreneur. That’s the theory – Islamic economics is a ‘third way’ that navigates between command-style centralized economics, and free-wheeling, market-based, greed-driven Western capitalism. However the practice is somewhat different in modern Islamic banking. To learn more go to The Islamic Globe at:  http://tinyurl.com/5wf3ypr

  5. Sharia Finance is a fast track to financing Jihad (also known a s terrorism here in the west).

    I believe that Toronto did have a Sharia Bank but it went under and was sued, 2.2 million in gold is still missing and believed to be in Egypt, most likely funding Jihad somewhere.

    • It would have helped if you’d read the article…..oh, and knew what jihad meant.

  6. I presume the two men were not in the same room together?  It was hard to get a good sense of the actual argument, as Fatah kinda comes off as a bit of a fear monger, and Hejazi comes off as quite reasonable, which is not what I was expecting, but there’s no dialogue so it’s hard to get a sense of how they’d respond to each other’s answers.  I’m sure it’s infinitely more complicated than my description, but that’s how it reads to me for the most part.

  7. How on earth is a loudmouth like Tarek Fatah an “expert”? He has no formal education on this matter, nor has he been recognized as a scholar by any institution (e.g. university).

    Why couldn’t Maclean’s find a professor like Hejazi, or an economist, to provide expertly opinion on the matter?

    • Sameer, obviously you made the comment without having read the piece. How else could you have missed what Hejazi wrote. Unbelievable.

      • You always beat around the bush. If you claim to be a muslim and believe in what God said about avoiding interest, then what would be your suggestion for muslims to avoid eating and paying interest. Give a straight answer.

  8. There was a time when journalism in the Western world represented a bastion of liberty and a staunch defender of our western liberal democracy.

    Today it lurks in the murky world “progressivism” – a twisted form of liberalsm which has metastacised since the 60′s, where the notions of individual equality (indeed every human is created equal and should have equal rights) have morphed into the perverse “cultural equality”.  In this “progressive” world, all cultures (note the use of the word culture rather than race) are equal.  There is none better or worse, just different, and all worthy of our respect.

    The result is that women’s rights groups (mostly taken over by the “progressive” movement) largely stand mute at the barbarism of Islamic practices against women.  Gay rights groups pay little attention to the stoning or hanging of gays in the mideast.

    And the press (former bastions of liberty) openly muse about our societal institutions being “sharia compliant.”

    After all, we must respect those cultures that are merely different from ours, regardless of the tenets and practices those cultures embrace: the progressive rule book says so. 

  9. There was a time when journalism in the Western world represented a bastion of liberty and a staunch defender of our western liberal democracy.
     
    Today it lurks in the murky world “progressivism” – a twisted form of liberalsm which has metastacised since the 60′s, where the notions of individual equality (indeed every human is created equal and should have equal rights) have morphed into the perverse “cultural equality”.  In this “progressive” world, all cultures (note the use of the word culture rather than race) are equal.  There is none better or worse, just different, and all worthy of our respect.
     
    The result is that women’s rights groups (mostly taken over by the “progressive” movement) largely stand mute at the barbarism of Islamic practices against women.  Gay rights groups pay little attention to the stoning or hanging of gays in the mideast.
     
    And the press (former bastions of liberty) openly muse about our societal institutions being “sharia compliant.”
     
    After all, we must respect those cultures that are merely different from ours, regardless of the tenets and practices those cultures embrace: the progressive rule book says so. 

    • And your point is? Should the press only report on Western, white, middle-class, heterosexual, male issues? There’s plenty of news outlets that publish/broadcast for this demographic – Fox News is a good example, whereas Al Jazeera is focussed on an educated Arab or Indian sub-continent viewer and hence it pitches its news differently.

  10. Thus the presumably well intentioned John Foster, takes on the language of progressivism: “there is good and bad in any system”, it’s just humans that act poorly.

    Except, cultural norms vary from society to society, and belief system to belief system.    For instance the Chistianity of the third century (well before the period of enlightenment) which Emily referrs to, was barbaric compared to the Christian principles of today.  We do not see widespread mutilation of female genetalia, the notions that women must cover their faces lest they wish to invite rape, women being unnaccompanied by male keepers inviting stern punishment, as part of today’s Judeo/Christian Western belief system.

    But out of respect for “cultural diversity” we must adjust our senses of justice, equality and right and wrong.

    After all there is no “right or wrong” any more.  Only the wonder of our differences. 

    • It’s partly a function of religion, partly a function of culture, but most of all a function of time.

      The era you live in mentally.

      Genital mutilation is also done by christians… even today….it’s not a religious practice, it’s a cultural one.

      Women today right here wear a veil when being married….RC women have a ‘chapel veil’ for church attendence,  and when I was a kid a woman couldn’t do a lot of things without being accompanied by a man….including entering a tavern.  Any woman on her own was considered ‘fair game’. She was ‘asking for it’.

      Orthodox Jews are currently enforcing the idea that women must ride at the back of the bus, and that women cannot sing in public [or the men have to leave] and there was a obstetrics conference a couple of weeks ago where women couldn’t speak.  Female obstetricians had to sit in a segregated area of the audience and remain silent.

      This is occurring right now in Israel….and in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is even having a fight over street signs that tell women to get off the sidewalk to let a man pass.

      The Golden Age of Islam [their enlightenment] happened centuries ago….brilliant discoveries and inventions….and they passed them along to us when we were in our Dark Ages.  Then we rose, and they fell.

      China was doing brilliantly ….inventing most of the things of our modern world….and they had their ups and downs over 5000 years….wars, revolutions.  They even eventually got stuck with Mao….but now they’re on the upswing again.

      Some cultures never recover from a Dark Age…..some do, and even go on to better things.

      Right here in Canada we have people living in different eras than the mainstream….Amish, Mennonites, Hutterites.  We also still have hunter-gatherers, and several pre-industrial societies.

      All different beliefs, all different practices.

      My point is….we can’t claim superiority and point fingers and try to bomb people into ‘our era’….that is a function of time….and the same way we got here…education.

      •  Your lies are breathtaking,to say the very least. While it’s true that certain Christian & Jewish sects do have a similar attitude with their Muslim counterparts toward  women, homosexuals and modernity, you’ve perversely twisted that to suit your skewed logic and poisonous agenda of the notion of modern Judeo-Christian society being equivalent to the Islamic world of today. Pure BULL!! Name me ONE Christian country, that actively ENFORCES rules of wearing the veil a la Iran or Saudi Arabia. Can’t think of any? That’s right- there’s NONE to begin with. And how do you explain WOMEN serving in the Israeli Army??? Doesn’t gel well with your assertion of the treatment of women in Israel, too bad. Or name me any country with a Judeo-Christian heritage/ culture that sponsors state-sanctioned genocide for homosexuals.  How about the boot on the other foot- name me one Muslim country that is a democracy??? Or an Islamic country a woman & men are viewed equally by the law??? Where Christians & Jews are given equal rights and free to worship???  Where atheists- or Muslims who don’t want anything to do with Islamism- have every right to be without being hunted down & killed??? My point being? That anyone who does not see the stark differences in how women, homosexuals and infidels are treated between Judeo-Christian & Islamic societies…are painfully thick. Or just willfully ignorant- more than likely it’s almost always the latter.

        As for the oft-repeated “Golden Age of Islam”- give me a break.  Most of the mathematics & scientific discovery are actually that of the Greeks, Copts and other INFIDELS under the Islamic Conquests in Europe during the Middle Ages. Some ideas were also stolen from ancient India and China when the Arabs were trading with them, which they later incorporated and then passed off as their own.

        •  There is no ‘Judeo-Christian’ society of today….there never was, in fact.

          And since you don’t want to know anything about our world, there is little point in showing you where your Google button is.

          Goodness, you can’t even find this….!

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Golden_Age

          Failed Algebra….Al Gebra….didja?

  11. There is no good at all in Sharia law. In Canada, we have laws that are voted by our Parliaments, Legislative Assemblies, and the municipalities the former devolve powers to, as stated in the Constitution, which is the Sovereign law of the land.

    A Constitution can only be a monopoly on legislative legitimacy. If Islamists are offended by our commercial laws, then they are free to take their business elsewhere, and if they get hit in the bum by the door as it closes, well that’s too bad.

    There cannot be a parallel legal system operating besides the legitimate law of the land. We have worked hard enough to separate church and state in this country over the last century not to let the mosque take the place vacated by church in that faulty equation.

    • I take it you view all corporate bylaws, society regulations, NGO policies, and “No shoes, no shirt, no service” signs as invalid then?

  12. Who even follows the MCC?? How dumb do you have to be to consider this eloquent, but misguided Tarek Fatah as your religious mentor?

  13. No, it does not. 

  14. Thank you prof hejazi and mr fatah, Non-interest real estate does have potential, and western corporate backed sharia mortgage is basically masked interest. At the same time.
    Personally I feel the “cost to borrow” system instead of being based on compounded intrest needs to be reworked ground up.
    ie: i have 300K and purchase in CASH, a house. said rent-to-own tenant will pay based on value plus commision (say add 50K) divided over 25 years.  and if a year, or after some prescribed term, the home value goes up over 350K, well then i have a right to increase those payments based on a value of 350,000. so this way i benefit from the sound investment in the market, while at the same time providing a fellow muslim with a place to live and chance to own. however home values can spiral out of control up or down – in which case maximum payment based on the interest must be impleented.
    most people pay interest but can still make hefty profit n the value increase.
    this all requires however -  me to have 300k, i dont but i know who does. if the KSA was really an islamic state as it claims, and if muslims really did have a global financial network this would all be possible. the house of sauds instead are far more concerned with appeasing u.s. and israel, and charging muslims for visa, and deporting muslim “slaves” who are unemployed (while isreal flies in nonisraeli jewish and gives dual citizenship no prob).
    the right wing readers and commenters not here on mcleans are on other news outlets saying “take sharia and go back to your muslim lands with it”. i would if there was such a place. ww1 and provisions afterwards made quite sure that will not happen in the near future. the rulers in ksa are kept very comfy to ensure there is no emergence of a REAL islamic state like the ottoman empire not there or anywhre. this is why western media goes batty over “islamists winning elections”. any  secular state sponsored islamic scholar is proof – when they are paid to tell thier people that we dont need kilafat, that revolting against rulers (be they tyrannical dictators) is an affront to islam.
    so this issue is far deeper than it appears, without the kilaf in india- after the british destroyed it- the ulema (islamic scholars) took the charge, but not completely. in the discrepancy between the kilaf and ulema much can be gleaned.
    um financial is an example of how the ulema can twist words and get away with it – the scam is not really criminal so far since its all on books, i can make you a creditor give you a mill in gold on a bogus invoice and then claim bankrupt and abscond on the REAL creditors, my vendors. but in a kilafat – 4 witnesses out of the many homeowners could easily ensure they would be missing limbs

  15. Mr. Fatah is high on sensationalist inflammatory comments and low on sound reasoning and logical thought. Not sure why such a canard is given a voice by the media? Any ways it gives me hope: if such feeble thought can be given bits, bytes, space and airtime – there is hope for the rest of us – to be heard.

  16. My experience and study tells me that these lines may indicate less about marriage and more about the sexuality of a person. that is why the lines are also known as the lines of sexuality. to answer a question about marriage, the other lines on the palm must also be studied.

    http://www.vashikaranlovemarriage.com/love-marriage-palmistry.html/

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