Showing posts with label Ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ideas. Show all posts

October 19, 2016

What qualifies financial services or products to be sharia-compliant?

    Wednesday, October 19, 2016   No comments
Economists specializing in the study of Islamic finance and economics have reduced Islamic laws governing financial and economic transactions to two: proscription on receiving or paying “interest” and mandating that investors and developers (lenders and borrowers) share the gains and losses of the enterprise in which they are more or less partners. This theory is widespread but it is based on a very basic, and perhaps outdated, understanding of the primary sources of classical Islamic law. Moreover, most of the works and publications advancing this perspective are built on secondary sources and rarely engage primary materials. This essay challenges the ideas and approaches behind this perspective and proposes a model that takes into consideration the need to protect the poor and the desire to make profit, which is the motivating force behind a thriving economy.

While Islamic scriptures clearly prohibit profiting from the poor, supposedly sharī'ah-compliant Islamic financial and exchange laws circumvent prohibitions and limitations on ribā, monopolism, debt, and risk while failing to address the fundamental purpose behind the prohibitions—mitigating poverty. This study provides a historical survey of the principles that shape Islamic finance and exchange laws, reviews classical and modern interpretations and practices in the banking and exchange sectors, and suggests a normative model rooted in the interpretation of Islamic sources of law reconstructed from paradigmatic cases. Financial systems that overlook the nexus between poverty and usury harm both the economy and poor and middle class consumers and investors rather than addressing the causal relationship between interest-charging models and poverty. This study shows how Islamic Financial Institutions (IFIs) have failed to meet the social requirements they were intended to address and also presents a theoretical framework for Islamic finance and exchange laws that proscribes usurious transactions involving people caught in the cycle of poverty and need.
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November 16, 2015

The Genealogy, Ideology, and Future of ISIL and its Derivatives

    Monday, November 16, 2015   No comments


Abstract: The organization known today simply as the “Islamic State,” or by its Arabic acronym, Daesh (English, ISIL), has historical and ideological roots that go beyond the territories it now controls. These deep roots give Daesh confidence that it will succeed in dominating the world, but give others reasons to believe that it will fail in controlling even a single nation. Mixing puritan religious and political discourses, ISIL managed to dominate all other armed opposition groups in conflict zones (Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya) and has inspired individuals in many other countries (Egypt, Pakistan, France, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia) to carry out brutal attacks in its name.
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Dogmatic Origins: Traditionism

September 17, 2014

ISIL cannot be defeated militarily without addressing the roots of its genocidal creed and confronting its sectarian backers

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014   No comments

Less than a year after the start of the crisis in Syria, I warned that militarizing the Syrian uprising is a dangerous step. Picking sides and arming them would amount to  launching a new proxy-war similar to the one that took place in Afghanistan in the 1970's and 1980's. The danger, I reasoned, comes from the necessary outcome of using non-state actors as tools to destabilize other nations and adopting violence to escalate the confrontation with international political adversaries. Such escalation, generally, produces groups that cannot be kept under control as happened with al-Qaeda. Today, it has become evident that Syria is indeed a proxy-war zone that produced ISIL, an upgraded version of al-Qaeda, which was the byproduct of the proxy-war in Afghanistan. Such a new proxy-war will not be limited to Syria's border. Indeed, all countries involved in such a war, especially the ones sharing borders with Syria like Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan, will face serious political and security challenges.

April 4, 2013

The origins and evolution of the Grinch that derailed the Arab Spring

    Thursday, April 04, 2013   No comments
The Pakistanization  of Turkey and the Afghanization of Syria in the new proxy-war

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*

Witnessing the first democratic elections in Tunisia in 2011, I stood at the edge of the city listening to residents explaining the role of “neighborhood watch committees” in keeping peace and protecting personal and public property. I listened as my interlocutors told me stories of new connections emerging to create tighter relations between neighbors to face unprecedented violence and loss of security. On a rotating basis, residents, carrying wooden sticks, stood guard at the main intersection separating one neighborhood from another. To them, safety developed a new meaning. Without thinking of the American context (gun control debate) for my question, I asked if they would have felt safer if they had guns instead of sticks and brooms while guarding their families and properties. Without hesitation, one of the people accompanying me stated that he is alive because people did not have guns.  

On February 26 (2013), the Tunisian government announced that three suspects in the  murder of Chokri Belaid had been arrested and that authorities were searching for the person who shot the victim. Ali Laraydh, the current prime minister, stated that “extremist Islamists [islamiyyun mutashddidun] code name for takfiri fighters, were behind the murder. This formal accusation confirms what many Tunisians had said even before the assassination:  Takfiris are behind the violence and unless they are restrained they will continue to use violence to intimidate and eliminate those who criticize them and oppose their interpretation of Islam.

December 27, 2012

Top News Story of 2012

    Thursday, December 27, 2012   No comments

The year 2012, like 2011, was dominated by news from the Arab world. With the profound changes that were produced by the Arab Awakening, the entire world continued to watch political and military developments emerging from that region. Without doubt, for the Arab world, the Syrian crisis, the Second Gaza War, and the vote on the Palestinian observer status were the most critical events of the year. But the UNGA vote, that came days after the Second Gaza War and the continued militarization of the Syrian crisis, is the most telling event. It exposed the interplay between politics, economic interests, and international justice. Most importantly, it exposed the lack of principle in the US foreign policy and weakened it in its claim as a promoter of just causes and human rights. The event also signaled a shift in international politics and international relations.

For these reasons, ISR’s News Story of the Year selection goes to the UNGA vote on the Observer Status for Palestine which went down as follows:

Countries that voted for the resolution:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kirghistan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, UAE, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Countries that abstained:

Albania, Andorra, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Colombia, Croatia, Dem. Rep. of Congo, Estonia, Fiji, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malawi, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Poland, Korea, Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Togo, Tonga, United Kingdom, and Vanuatu.

Countries that voted against the resolution:

Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Panama, and the United States. 


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November 13, 2012

The Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (SNCORF)

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012   No comments

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*

On October 31, I wrote, Who is the Syrian Opposition?. Less than two weeks later, a new coalition of opposition figures was born in Qatar, underscoring the erratic composition of the groups fighting to oust Bashar Assad from power.

Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, Riad Seif, Suhair al-Atassi, 
and Mustafa al-Sbbagh

The Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (SNCORF; also conveniently abbreviated as SCARF) is not entirely a new opposition group. Rather it is a new umbrella organization intended to replace the Syrian National Council (SNC) criticized last week by Secretary Clinton for not being inclusive enough. The U.S. administration does not seem interested in representative groups as much as it is interested in political organizations that are actually capable of exerting control over armed groups. Understandably, the U.S. administration is concerned about sophisticated weapons falling in the hands of terrorist groups threatening U.S. security and interests. These concerns were heightened in September when some rebel group in Libya attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and killed the Ambassador and members of his security detail.

Members of the SNC resisted the unification plan and was said to agree only when Qatar and other Gulf States threatened to withdraw financial and political support. In the end, instead of a birth of a more representative opposition, the old body was re-created with a new name.

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