- The Washington Times - Friday, January 26, 2007

Some two years ago Saudi clerics issued fatwas forbidding Muslims to play soccer unless its rules were replaced by “Islamic rules,” or it was used as physical training for jihad. To the extent that anybody noticed that in the West, they were promptly dismissed as the inconsequential ravings of misguided fanatics.

This is not likely to be the fate of recent promises by British chancellor and prime minister in waiting, Gordon Brown, to make Britain “a key hub for facilitating Islamic finance” and to turn London into “a major enabling and structuring center for global Islamic finance.” Yet, completely different as these two cases appear to be at first blush, they are both part of a concerted effort by radical Islamists to make the rest of us accept their reactionary worldview as legitimate in the name of multiculturalism and diversity.

The apparent cluelessness of an otherwise economically literate person like Gordon Brown, regarding “Islamic finance” is a case in point. To put it simply, there could no more be “Islamic finance” or “Islamic economics” than Christian physics or Buddhist biology. It is a completely bogus concept based on a misinterpretation of Quranic teaching and designed to advance radical Islam. It has everything to do with Islamic, indeed, Islamist, desiderata and very little with finance. The guiding principle of Islamic finance is built around the ostensible Quranic prohibition of charging interest. Except that the Quran bans usury, not interest. As the leading authority on the subject, Professor Timur Kuran, explains in his devastating critique of Islamic finance, “What the Quran bans unambiguously is the pre-Islamic Arabian institution of “riba,” whereby a borrower saw his debt double following a default and redouble if he defaulted again.” And so, having foresworn interest without which banking is virtually impossible, Islamic finance is little more than a hoax perpetrated on its clients through a series of deceitful ruses that amount to interest just the same.

No wonder that the concept of Islamic finance or economics was virtually unheard off until invented some 50 years ago by hard-line Islamists like Abul Ala Mawdudi and Sayyid Qutb, neither one of whom knew anything about economics. Nor did any Islamic banks or institutions exist in the entire history of Islam until 1975, when the Saudis started investing massive amounts of petrodollars into the worldwide export of Wahhabi extremism.

None of this has prevented Mr. Brown, or the U.S. treasury, which hired itself an adviser on Islamic banking, or countless Western universities and institutes sponsoring conferences on the subject, from legitimating this fraud on the altar of the false gods of multiculturalism.

Unfortunately, this is far from an isolated case of Western acquiescence to radical Islamist agendas. A few weeks ago, Muslim cab drivers at Minneapolis airport started refusing to carry passengers carrying alcohol purchases, following a fatwa by the extremist Muslim Students Association, which has no authority to issue fatwas to begin with. Yet, instead of immediately pulling their licenses for refusing to perform the service for which they were licensed, the city meekly submitted to this outrage. Where does this all end? How far are we from the day when an emergency room surgeon refuses to operate on a person because he had a glass of wine or ate pork before getting ill?

There are now countless Islamic centers, mosques and extremist organizations of all kinds incorporated in the U.S. that officially swear allegiance to shariah in their bylaws in blatant disregard to the law of the land. These are American non-profit organizations that pledge fealty to a reactionary code which requires rape victims to find four male witnesses to prove the crime, or face being stoned to death for adultery.

Nor do our public officials appear better informed than the British chancellor about the threat we’re facing. Top government representatives regularly engage in meaningless “Muslim outreach” programs with the most radical of Islamist organizations, thereby legitimating them again and again in the eyes of mainstream Muslims as the powers that be in their community. Karen Hughes, the public diplomacy guru of the land, told a convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA): “You are the frontline in public diplomacy because you are more credible than I am.” Who exactly are these credible frontline troops? A recent survey of ISNA members provides some unambiguous answers. By nearly a 3 to 1 margin they believe that America is at war with Islam as a religion and that the U.S. government had advance knowledge of the September 11, 2001 attacks and allowed them to happen. A majority did not believe that the terrorists responsible for the September 11 attack and the July 7, 2005 attack on London were Muslim. Even our law enforcement is not immune to this pernicious affliction, with FBI honchos across the country now forcing their agents to sit through “sensitivity training” sessions administered by the likes of the Council on Islamic-American Relations, several high officials of which have been sent to jail by these same agents for terrorist activities.

A historian once remarked that civilizations do not die of old age: they commit suicide. He might have added that a civilization that submits to the rules of those who would destroy it is halfway there already.

Alex Alexiev is vice president for research at the Center for Security Policy.

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