Death to bankers!

butcherthosewhomockislamThe New York Times ran a rather shocking article on British Muslim calls to violence. The hook is that the Antiterrorism Act of 2006 makes it a crime to glorify or encourage political violence but that some Muslim leaders are doing just that without government reprisal.

One of them is Atilla Ahmet, leader of the Islamist group Supporters of Shariah. In meetings with supporters and in interviews, the British-born Mr. Ahmet speaks freely about what he considers the necessity for violent action, both here and abroad, to avenge what he considers unjustified attacks on Muslims abroad.

“You are attacking our people in Muslim countries, in Iraq, in Afghanistan,” Mr. Ahmet said, referring to the British and American governments. “So it’s legitimate to attack British soldiers and policemen, government officials, and even the White House.”

Mr. Ahmet, a 42-year Briton of Cypriot descent, went on to include bank employees as legitimate targets “because they charge interest,” which he says is in violation of Islamic law.

There’s a lot to cover in an article about violent religious threats, ranging from legal issues to civil rights. And I think it’s a great article with a lot of juicy quotes — about killing people.

Everyone knows that there is a major religious component to the current terror headlines. So stories like this one should be all over the place. Reporters shouldn’t need a law punishing violent speech to report on what’s happening inside mosques and on websites. How about more articles on Muslim finance and how it compares to Christian and Jewish beliefs regarding usury?

Let’s see more stories on the sermons in Sunni and Shia mosques in Iraq, American Muslim sermons, etc. How do Muslims choose which mosque to attend? What are the major doctrinal divides in the religion?

Photo of a British Muslim protest via lakerae on Flickr.

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  • Larry Rasczak

    “How about more articles on Muslim finance and how it compares to Christian and Jewish beliefs regarding usury?”

    That would be a great idea!

    Far to many people in the West think that Islam is just Judeo-Christianity with the serial numbers filed off. It is NOT.

    Islam is a distinct and different tradition. The sooner we in the West understand that the sooner we will understand what is going on in the middle east

  • Harris

    Before we all go into the Christian jihadist mode (what ARE they saying in those mosques??), it would perhaps be useful to take a look at Monday’s NYT on the American Pakistani (Muslim) community along Devon Avenue in Chicago.

    The cross comparison between the British and American communities revelas how much is actually a function of social conditions. Not surprisng, really, since religion and social conditions often engage in a rather complicated dance.

  • Mollie


    Thanks for the link to the Chicago Muslim community but who is going into jihadist mode?

    Also, I doubt that all British Muslims are calling for violence while no American Muslims are doing same. Within Chicago, itself, I bet there is a variety of belief.

    We need to know more about it. Particularly the doctrinal assumptions underlying the varieties of belief.

  • Stephen A.

    Yes, this raises a great topic. I, too would love to see a story on Muslim-friendly banking.

    How do they remain in business? Do they charge “fees” for loaning money, amounting to the same thing as interest? Are the banks state-owned, making profit motive irrelevant? Are banks in the Muslim world tantamount to charity?

    I honestly don’t know. These are blind spots for most Westerners and we’ve not been educated through the press on this.

    (Not that discovering these facts would excuse an attack on our banking interests by religious fanatics.)

  • Larry Rasczak

    I think I’m the one Harris is talking about. That’s ok. (BTW it’s not “Christian jihadist”, that is like “born again Moslem”. Perhaps “Crusader” is the word you are looking for?)

    Even so, I think that even most Moslems would agree with me on this point. Islam is a distinct and different tradition. Most people in the West hear about the “people of the book” thing and that Islam honors Jesus and Mary and that Moslems pray 5 times a day and don’t drink or eat pork; then being Westerners we sort of figure Islam is “part of the big Juedo-Christian Club”. It is NOT. To assume that Islam is nothing more than an offshoot of Judeo-Christianity disrespects Islam, if nothing else.

    Islam is very different from Judeo-Christianity and it must be seen as such and we need to deal with it as such. I think the press needs to cover this point more. Stories like this one should be all over the place.

    As for the banking, I had a case once where I had to research Islamic banking. It can get quite complex, and obvioulsy there are severe problems with conforming to generally accepted accounting standards. For that reason it hasn’t spread much outside of the Islamic world.

    As I recall, (and PLEASE feel free to correct me if I am wrong) one does not loan money for interest. One gives money to someone who is starting a venture, in exchage one recieves a share in the venture. This is not like stock because it does not bring control in the venture; rather it is agreed that the share will be repurchased at a particular time for a preset amount, say something like 110% of the original sale price. Sometimes the re-payment can be made in a series of payments over time, (if one is buying a house for instance).

    There are other ways where the share is more like what we in the west would call an investment, where the person who puts up the money gets a sum that varies in proportion to the sucess or failure of the venture.

    Sometimes people will lend a money at a zero intrest rate. Then when the borrower repays the money the borrower includes a “gift of thanks” to the lender. This give would be equal to something in the range of 10% of the original loan, more or less.

    Wikipedia has a good article on it if you want more detail. There is also an Institute of Islamic Banking & Insurance in London, and I think one of the Ivy Leauges was starting a small program in it back around 2000 or so.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Ah yes–the religion of peace?? Even earlier in protesting simple cartoons it seems the common Islamic impulse is to immediately cry out words such as were festooned on the signs in this photo:”Slay!!” “Behead!!” “Butcher!!” “Exterminate!!” What we need is more coverage on the connection between the Koran, the affect the bloody example of Mohammed sets for today’s Moslems, and an apparent passion for killing those who merely disagree with them. And why is it that those most attached to that religion seem the most prone to violence all across the world from the Phillipines to India to Indonesia to the Middle East to Africa To Egypt to Europe to America? And one wonders why this wave of violence all around the world is not covered with more than short one or two paragraph stories buried on page 3004 in the newspapers and NOT AT ALL even on the news channels that have hours to fill?? It would certainly put a different light on the fact Bush,. American foreign policy, and Israel is not the real root cause of all this world-wide Islamic propensity for bloodshed–even being the only religion that -in the name of their God- will strap bombs onto their young children to be suicide bombers.

  • Will

    Gee, “Deacon”, I never realized that my cousin the dervish was such a threat of violence (although the Iranian Pasdaran thought so.) Guess I better nip over to London and shoot him. Or do you use the “people who don’t fit My prejudices aren’t REAL ” dodge?

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Will–Mao Tse-Tung–the late Chinese Communist leader–once said to the effect that Communist revolution succeeds where the people are the sea which supports the fish (their violent revolutionaries). I strongly believe that more attention should be paid in the media to the role the Islamic Sea plays in the fact that wherever you look on the Globe–even where Christian, or other- minorities are so small as to be totally non-threatening, many Moslems still resort to horrendous violence and bloodshed. For example–the constant violence directed against and murders of Copts repeatedly in Egypt where they are only 7% of the population. The Armenian genocide by the Moslem Turks. The constant suicide bombings on the borderlands between Hindu areas and Moslem areas in India and between Christian areas and Moslem areas in Indonesia and the Phillipines (there is no way to blame American foreign policy, Israel, or Bush for any of these–as the media so likes to imply these make Moslem deadly violence somehow “understandable”)