Senator Barack Obama became President-elect on the uplifting, if inexact, slogan, “Yes, we can.” This week, there is growing evidence that people who have in mind doing away with the presidency of the United States – and all other aspects of our secular, democratic and constitutional form of government – are similarly convinced of their inevitable success. Judging by the sheer audacity of their agenda, “Yes, they can” would appear an apt description of the prospects for the Saudis and other champions of the totalitarian program they call Shariah.
In the run-up to an emergency summit outgoing President George Bush has called to address the now-global financial crisis, the oil-rich Islamists of the Persian Gulf led by Saudi Arabia have not only established that their petrodollars are indispensable to any solution. They also seem to have secured the Bush Administration’s acquiescence to the sinister strings attached to any bail-out of the West in which they might participate.
Specifically, the Saudis and their friends want the United States to join those, particularly in Europe, who have accommodated themselves to Shariah. No, we are assured, they aren’t taking about the brutal theo-political-legal code that features such barbaric practices as beheadings, floggings, stonings, amputations, female genital mutilation and misogyny more generally.
All they want, those in the know insist, is for Washington to encourage Wall Street – more and more of which is owned by the U.S. government – to embrace Shariah-Compliant Finance (SCF). A Treasury Department seminar convened last week depicted SCF as nothing more than a kind of socially responsible investing vehicle that respects Muslim religious beliefs by eschewing interest-bearing transactions and those involving pork and “sin” stocks. So, what’s the big deal? The Catholics, Methodists and Jews have their funds, why not the Muslims?
What makes the Shariah-Compliant Finance gambit both a big and troublesome “deal” is that, unlike these other religious traditions, Shariah’s adherents are pursuing a global theocracy. They believe they must impose their agenda on everybody else, religious and secular alike, using violence if necessary. And SCF is explicitly described by leading practitioners as a complement to violent holy war: “financial jihad” and “jihad with money.”
In other words, there is no such thing as free-standing Shariah-Compliant Finance. According to all of the recognized authorities and institutions of Islam, Shariah is a unified, indivisible program to which all faithful Muslims must adhere comprehensively.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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