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Shariah Investments - News Articles

Pakistan Plans Sukuk-Bill Expansion to Attract Gulf Banks

Pakistan is beefing up Shariah Finance to offset its debt. This article further substantiates the link between oil money and Shariah Finance. “Pakistan, whose population of 170 million is second to Indonesia among Muslim nations, is aiming to attract the wealth of the oil-rich Persian Gulf to help finance its budget deficit and revive an economy hurt by nine years of fighting with the Taliban militants.”

July 2, 2010
Islamabad, Pakistan

Pakistan, the world’s second-largest Muslim nation, plans to expand its Shariah-compliant banking industry and attract more investors from the Persian Gulf by boosting sales of sukuk bills.

State Bank of Pakistan is seeking to sell sukuk maturing in a year or less in the domestic market in the quarter ending September, spokesman Syed Wasimuddin said in an e-mail yesterday. The plan is part of an effort to double Islamic banking services in the next three years to 12 percent of the total. The securities pay profit rates rather than interest.

“Islamic banks and Shariah-compliant mutual funds are dry in terms of investment opportunities,” Irfan Malik, head of fixed income at National Fullerton Asset Management Ltd., which has the equivalent of $160 million in assets, said yesterday in an interview in Karachi. “Securities of less than one-year maturity and Islamic interbank lending will attract local and foreign investors. We will participate in the auction.”

Pakistan, whose population of 170 million is second to Indonesia among Muslim nations, is aiming to attract the wealth of the oil-rich Persian Gulf to help finance its budget deficit and revive an economy hurt by nine years of fighting with the Taliban militants.


Is Shariah "Socially Responsible?" Says It Is

Shariah Finance Watch
July 2, 2010

The web site has published what amounts to propaganda for the financial jihadists. In an online article published on July 1st, the site “explained” “Islamic investing,” touting it as “socially responsible.”

This affords us a teaching moment. We will go through the various aspects of the article and deconstruct the propaganda:

“Islamic fund is an investment fund that is managed according to the Sharia law. The law is based on Islam’s sacred texts. In many ways, the resulting policies often overlap with the goals of socially responsible investing. Socially responsible investing is the term for investment practices that try to earn profit in a socially responsible way without hurting the investors’ bottom lines. Like socially responsible investors, Islamic investors seek to minimize risk, contribute to social causes and avoid contributing to industries that they view as damaging to the public good. However, because of unique features of Sharia law, Islamic funds and the goals of social investing don’t always converge.”

The authors said a real mouthful here. We wonder if they realize that among the “social causes” that Shariah Finance contributes to are those fighting in the way of allah? The authors did get one thing right: Shariah law does indeed have unique features which do not converge with social investing:

  • Apostates from Islam are to be executed.
  • Lying to infidels in time of jihad is permissible
  • Offensive, military jihad against non-Muslims is a religious obligation
  • Beating an insubordinate wife is permissible
  • A Muslim man may marry four women
  • A woman may not leave the house without her husband’s permission
  • A virgin may be married against her will by her father or grandfather

Then there is this passage from the article:

The Sharia council is a group of respected Islamic scholars who examine every aspect of the fund and make sure it is Sharia-compliant.

We suppose the authors are unfamiliar with the Sunni Islamic world’s foremost Shariah scholar, who sits on the board of some major financial institutions. His name is Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. He has been banned from travel to the United States and the United Kingdom for his financial ties to Jihadist terrorist organizations. Qaradawi also founded the Islamic American University and started the US-based web site Islamonline. He runs a charity organization based out of Saudi Arabia known as the Union of Good, which the US Treasury Department has designated a terrorist entity.

Then there is Mufti Taqi Usmani, who is probably the most influential Shariah scholar in the financial world. Until his hateful, Jihadist militant credo was exposed to the public, Usmani headed HSBC’s Shariah council as well as that of Dow Jones. (This shows how clueless and reckless the financial world actually is when it comes to true due diligence on Shariah-Compliant Finance.) Usmani is still the chair of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions, one of the major industry bodies. This makes Usmani one of the most powerful men in the world of Shariah Finance.

Usmani receives compensation from dozens of banks and investment firms, including Saudi American Bank, Citi Islamic Investment Bank, and Guidance Financial Group in the USA.

Before cashing in with the private sector, Usmani was a Shariah judge on the Supreme Court of Pakistan for 20 years.

Usmani is also a complete Jihadist.

In September 2001, Usmani was part of a small delegation of clerics known to be sympathetic to the Taliban in Afghanistan and travelled there to ostensibly convince Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, to turn over Osama Bin Laden to the United States. Information leaked later by some of the clerics present at the meeting indicates that the delegation may have, in fact, tried to stiffen the Taliban’s will to resist.

Usmani is a prolific writer in Urdu, Arabic and English, having published dozens of books and countless articles.

Among his books available in English is a vitriolic attack on Christianity called “What is Christianity” and a broadside against the West and modernity called “Islam and Modernism.”

Here is one particularly revealing quote from “Islam and Modernism:”

“Killing is to continue until the unbelievers pay jizyah (subjugation tax) after they are humbled or overpowered.”

Usmani is well-known for his uncompromising views on the mandatory nature of conducting offensive jihad against non-Muslims “in order to establish the supremacy of Islam” worldwide.

Usmani also complained bitterly at the lack of martyrs to combat American forces in Iraq:

“No one is found having any desire of Shahadah (martyrdom). How many mothers are there who want to sacrifice their sons for the cause of Islam? How many sisters are there who want to say goodbye to their brothers departing to wage jihad against non-believers?”

Usmani referred to Americans in Iraq as “stinking atheists” and “the worst ever butchers and vultures of the world” who are “clawing off the flesh of bodies of innocent Iraqi Muslims.”

According to what Usmani has said and written, aggressive jihad against unbelievers is an Islamic obligation and, as such, does not need any justification.

“For a non-Muslim state to have more pomp and glory than a Muslim state itself is an obstacle, therefore to shatter this grandeur is among the greater objectives of jihad.”

For Taqi Usmani, offensive jihad can be postponed for a time only in cases when the Muslims in question are not strong enough to battle or otherwise challenge the infidels. And so, he advises the Muslims to live peacefully in countries like Britain, for instance, but only until they gain enough power to carry out jihad.

Under Pakistani dictator General Zia al-Haq (1977-1988), himself a zealous advocate of Shariah, Usmani played a key role in the introduction of the Shariah-based punishment code known as the Huddud Ordinance, as well as blasphemy laws and other Shariah injunctions, to the huge detriment of Pakistani justice and civil liberties.

Remember, Usmani is one of the most “respected” Shariah scholars that touts in their article. gets another crucial point very wrong as well:

“The council has the power to reject investment opportunities if they aren’t Sharia-compatible or if they stop being Sharia-compatible anywhere along the way.”

This passage suggests that if an investment becomes non-Shariah-compliant the Shariah scholars just withdraw the investment. This is not at all the case. In such situations, the investment is not only withdrawn, but the amount invested must also be “purified.” The purification process involves donating the funds to zakat to fund Islamic charities. As regular readers of Shariah Finance Watch know, one of the eight destinations for zakat under ALL of the Shariah schools of jurisprudence is “those fighting in the way of allah.”

The most authoritative source for such information is a book which is available on Amazon called “The Reliance of the Traveler, A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law.” That book has a whole section devoted to the rules of zakat, including “THE EIGHT CATEGORIES OF RECIPIENTS.” On page 272, section h8.17, one category is labeled:


The seventh category is those fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster (O: but who are volunteers for jihad without remuneration). They are given enough to suffice them for the operation, even if affluent; of weapons, mounts, clothing, and expenses (O: for the duration of the journey, round trip, and the time they spend there, even if prolonged. Though nothing has been mentioned here of the expense involved in supporting such people’s families during this period, it seems clear that they should also be given it).

This passage, from this widely-used Shariah text seems to have been written expressly about zakat payments to charities which have funded Al Qaeda, HAMAS, Hezbollah and the Taliban. Note from the passage that such payments are meant specifically for irregular forces who are not part of any army roster, which describes terrorist/guerilla/insurgent groups exactly. Note that they are meant for “Islamic” military operations and not secular groups (i.e. HAMAS and not the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command). Note that such payments are made even if the recipient is affluent…like Osama Bin Laden. And, finally, the families of fighters are to be taken care of, such as payments by Saddam Hussein and Saudi princes to families of Islamikaze bombers in Gaza and the West Bank.

All too often, the destinations of zakat payments are to Jihadists, simply because Shariah mandates it.

The Favstocks article concludes with this passage:

Islamic Funds and Charities

Both socially responsible investment funds and Islamic funds are designed to ensure that some of the profits go towards charities and organizations that help the less fortunate.

This is why it is so obvious that who ever wrote this article at Favstocks didn’t do much due diligence at all. It appears as if the author is just regurgitating information from a press release or a marketing brochure.

No fewer than 80 Islamic charities have been identified by Western authorities, including the US Treasury Department, as funding Jihadist terrorism. Here is a listing that we published on the subject just over a year ago:

Here is the link to the shamless Favstocks article:


Deutsche Bank Introduces Online Zakat Settlement in Malaysia

Deutsche Bank has just launched a Shariah-compliant, end-to-end, Islamic tithe collection solution. Shariah mandates zakat, or charity. According to The Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, one of the categories of zakat recipients is “those fighting for Allah”. Zakat funds jihad, and often goes to “charities” that fund al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas, among other terror organizations.

Malaysia Top 1000
June 14, 2010
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Bhd (DBMB) has launched an online zakat settlement solution in Malaysia, leveraging on its web-based platform, db direct internet.

A subsidiary of Deutsche Bank AG, DBMB is the first foreign bank to provide an end-to-end Islamic tithe collection solution, which is Shari'ah complaint for the Lembaga Zakat Selangor (LZS), the bank said in a statement Monday.

Clients can now send and approve their staff zakat deductions where details of payments will be shared online with the LZS, it explained.


Indonesia Plans Massive Global Sukuk Deal

Indonesia will be offering a $500-600 million sukuk in October, its second international Shariah-compliant offering.

Asia One
June 15, 2010
Singapore, Indonesia

Indonesia plans to issue abenchmark size global sukuk in October, its second international Islamic offering in as many years, to capitalise on strong demand for sharia paper, a government official said on Tuesday.

The sukuk could be about $500 million to $600 million although the authorities are monitoring markets before making a decision on the sale, a finance ministry official said.

"We still have three months. Let's watch the market,"Dahlan Siamat, the finance ministry's director in charge of Islamic financing, told Reuters on Tuesday on the sidelines of an Islamic banking conference.


'Market, Not Methodoly', Drives Sukuk Defaults

This article starts off by saying that the increasing number of defaults in the sukuk market is due to a difficult global economy and companies not being able to service their debt. Dig a bit deeper into this article and it discusses how complicated sukuks are (never calling them derivatives which is what they are). As customers who own sukuk in default are learning the hard way, there are no global standards in this market, different Shariah scholars have differing ideas of what is Shariah compliant, the underlying assets are NOT necessarily easily obtained or even legally owned by creditors in case of default, seizing and selling assets to repay creditors is often impossible as when the assets are government owned oil fields located in the middle east.
June 15, 2010
By Karen Remo-Listana

The occurrence of sukuk defaults is driven by credit risk and has nothing to do with the validity of the sukuk methodology. But the problems associated with restructuring have something to do with sukuk's inherent complexity, experts said.

Currently, the three major defaulters are East Cameron partners in the US, which was behind the issuance of the US's first and only sukuk; Saudi Arabia's Saad group; and Kuwait's The Investment Dar. The list is not expected to stop there as new surprises in the business world keep showing up. "This is not a Shariah issue. This is an issue to do with credit and security," Muneer Khan, partner and Head of Islamic Finance at international law firm Simmons & Simmons, told Emirates Business.

"All defaults and potential defaults have been driven by market and credit risks. These deals would have gone wrong even if they were conventionally financed," said Neil Miller, Global Head of Islamic Finance, Norton Rose, a company that offers services on business-related legalities. "What makes sukuk different is its complexity and this complexity makes sukuk harder to restructure."

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To view a listing of the articles within this section, please click here.