Britain’s a world-leader in sharia banking – but we haven’t grasped the sinister and dangerous implications

Right, just a quickie, because this is fast becoming a blog about Melanie Philips, but my attention was drawn to this and it seemed a little, erm, questionable.

The $18billion (£12bn) in assets of Britain’s Islamic banks are said to dwarf those of Muslim states such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey and Egypt. And there are also 55 colleges and professional institutions offering education in Islamic finance in Britain – more than anywhere else in the world.”

Just to start with, having more money invested in sharia compliant banks than Bangladesh manages is not what I’d call impressive, or threatening. While being a Muslim nation, Bangladesh is also very, very poor. I haven’t the time to check what the status of sharia compliant banking is in, say, Egypt, but I’m guessing you don’t know how popular/legally accepted it is either. All we have is a list of countries, we know nothing about their circumstances. Before we know how impressive the £12 billion is, let’s not panic.

What they refuse to acknowledge is the real price that is to be paid for this. They don’t understand that the spread of sharia banking in Britain and America is a significant part of the attempt to Islamise Britain and America. Acceptance of sharia finance furthers the Islamist objective of gradually legitimising Islamic sharia law more generally in the west.”

I vaguely remember something similar reminding me of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – who has this nefarious scheme to Islamise the West? A few terrorist groups do not an international conspiracy of Masons and bankers make. And surely the legitimisation of sharia banking only helps legitimise sharia banking, not the whole system of sharia. I can approve of a tidy return on my capital without also agreeing that apostates can be stoned.

The point which is being missed is that all who use it must conform to the dictates of sharia law. Sharia financial institutions may not be making this clear now – they don’t want to frighten people away – but at some point that IOU of sharia-compliance will be called in. This is how sharia-compliance will be spread to both the Muslim and non-Muslim population.”

While there is still capital available for lending in a competitive banking system, any company whose sharia compliant loan is called in will find one elsewhere. The price of pork is unlikely to fall on the basis of lending blackmail anytime soon.

Any Western institution that endorses sharia-compliant products therefore effectively endorses the extremist ideology behind it of conquering the west for Islam, whether it knows it or not.”

No, again, you endorse the product you’ve bought into, not the principles behind it. In exactly the same way, worshipers of the Church of England do not, merely by virtue of weekly donations, endorse the arms companies the Church invests in. You are still entirely free to oppose them or to find alternative places of worship run along similar, but less offensive, lines.

The most important point to grasp is that Islam recognises no authority superior to sharia. Sharia banks will therefore not recognise the superior authority of the law of the land. When trillions of pounds and dollars are locked into them, who will argue with them?”

A redundant point – the Law still recognises no law higher than the Law.

But charity in Islam is more like solidarity. So some of this money donated to Islamic charities may well find its way to organisations promoting jihad and supporting suicide bombing including Hamas, Hezbollah, the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and Islamist madrassas in places like Pakistan.”

See earlier point about the Law – particularly in this case the laws on money laundering and funding of proscribed groups – and watch them try.

Only certain Islamic authorities are entitled to issue the religious rulings or fatwas that can recognize investments as sharia-compliant. But the people and institutions making the decisions about where this money is sent are themselves often highly questionable.”

Indeed they are, which counsels caution on which product you invest in/borrow from, but doesn’t demolish the principle of sharia banking as such. In the same way, the fact that some banks have been very badly run does not mean you should avoid usury.

What has to be understood is that sharia finance is simply a modern jihadi strategy to help Islamise Britain’s institutions and society. It was devised in the mid-20th century by the ideologues who promoted the radical Islamism that threatens us today.”

And here’s the rub – how, exactly, does the banking ‘Islamise’? What would ‘Islamise’ even mean in practice? The fact the local mosque holds my mortgage does not make me any more likely to worship Allah. It wouldn’t make me any more likely to subscribe to any Islamic principle. So long as there are non-Islamic banks I can seek a remortgage from, it is never possible that they can. I still find their fruitier beliefs repugnant and continue to resist their enforcement through the democratic process. The law is still the law and will still be upheld. Nothing in this article offers any reason to believe otherwise. It’s just paranoia.

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Strange Ontology: Week beginning 1st February 2009

Original research

4th February

Green tea ‘may negate effectiveness of cancer drug’

A report on: Golden et al. (2009) Green tea polyphenols block the anticancer effects of bortezomib and other boronic acid-based proteasome inhibitors Blood doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-07-171389

6th February

Aspirin once a YEAR ‘cuts stomach cancer risk’ by a third, promising new study shows

A report on: Abnet et al. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and risk of gastric and oesophageal adenocarcinomas: results from a cohort study and a meta-analysis British Journal of Cancer 100:551-557

Causes in brief

2nd February

Jade Goody ‘has emergency operation to remove life-threatening tumour’

“Only 15 per cent to 30 per cent of women with stage 4 cervical cancer will live longer than five years.”

3rd February

The sunshine babies: Children grow taller if their pregnant mothers enjoyed a summer in the sun

“The body makes most vitamin D from sunlight, rather than diet, but sun exposure is controversial because it can trigger skin cancer.”

4th February

The children eating their way to cancer: Expert warns of obesity timebomb

“Obesity is linked to cancers including those of the kidney, breast, colon, liver and prostate. It can also lead to heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, and experts warn the rising tide of these diseases could bankrupt the NHS.”

Basil Faulty: As John Cleese admits to ‘running repairs’, what DO women think of men trying to turn back time

“Storing fat around the stomach will affect vital organs and could raise the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer”

5th February

Doctors warn ‘miracle’ drug cannot cure Jade Goody’s cancer and has slim chance of working at all

“Only 15 per cent to 30 per cent of women with stage 4 cervical cancer will live longer than five years, according to Cancer Research data. The disease is the second most common type of cancer in women and kills about 800 people in England each year.

Most cases are caused by the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus. Girls aged 12 to 13 in Britain are now being offered a vaccination at school against the virus.

Around 3,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but the chances of survival are far higher if it is caught early.”

NHS kidney cancer patients denied life-saving drug because it’s ‘too expensive’

“Some 7,000 people are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year, including 1,700 with advanced disease, who did not show symptoms in the early stages. The average age of victims is 55.”

6th February

Vitamin D ‘can cut MS cases by 80%’, say scientists

“Other health benefits attributed to vitamin D include keeping bones strong, cutting the risk of some cancers and warding off dementia.”

7th February

We all know it tastes fabulous – but is it choc-full of goodness?

“Raw cocoa, the primary ingredient of chocolate, is rich in bitter-tasting flavanols – beneficial dietary antioxidants that protect the body from heart disease, diabetes and cancer, that are also found in abundance in fruits, vegetables, cereals and wine.”

Other

2nd February

Patients offered chemotherapy close to home from Britain’s first mobile cancer unit

“New 45-foot long vans will take cancer treatment, support and advice to local communities, so people do not have to trail into hospital – and pay exorbitant car parking charges.”

6th February

The boy with 11 tumours who was sent home to die… and survives after grandparents’ alternative therapy treatments

“But Connah’s family refused to give up hope. His grandparents began treating him with alternative therapies and, remarkably, he survived.”

We show tolerance to ‘gays’ and get tyranny in return

The Mail is a contrary beast. Some days it mourns the decline of civility, the next it opens our minds to the dark tyranny that civility truly is:

“We cringe to the new Thought Police, like the subjects of some insane, sex-obsessed Stalinist state, compelled to wave our little rainbow flags as the ‘Gay Pride’ parade passes by.”

Quite. It’s like Ceauşescu all over again, only this time he likes same-sex couples, not statist command economics. I must say though, I missed that memo (I assume I was out binging and stabbing the elderly). I thought the most that was ever demanded of me was not to be rude. And, to be fair, that was never really a demand, that was an upbringing supported by the idea that I’d be happier if people got on with me.

This is not a thought that is alien to ‘Peter’¹ – he  doesn’t like rudeness either:

“You think I exaggerate the power and fury of these forces? The totalitarian rage on this subject is quite astonishing. I have had several brushes with it, and been called rude names by its militants.”

Now name calling is almost always wrong. At best, it’s an unwelcome mirror (and we should consider whether ‘unwelcome’ is wrong on a case by case basis). Presumably ‘Peter’ would prefer the basic respect owed to him as an individual – the consideration of treating him as an equal. At the very least, this would involve extending the courtesy he would expect for himself, or a reason why such courtesy should not be extended. In short, civility and civil rights.

We couldn’t say, for example, Daily Mail writers are just not as good as the writers for other newspapers merely by virtue of their set membership, therefore ‘Peter’ shouldn’t be allowed to wear cuff-links. That would be a non sequitur following on from an initial unfounded belief². While we’re talking about unfounded belief, ‘Peter’ might rightly accuse me of prejudice, given that I’m adducing no evidence for disliking Mail journos apart from a general gut feeling. Whether ‘Peter’ would want to call me on that would depend on whether he wanted to wave the mirror at me, and whether he thought I’d see myself in it if he did.

For ‘Peter’ to hop up and down, as so many have in the Mail recently, over the grandparents at the center of this story is to obfuscate and avoid the issue. We can imagine the scenario involving a straight couple and the story not existing. We would have no complaints about “this demand, that they mouth approval of the new regime like the defendants at some show trial” as their grandchildren are brought up by strangers because they are considered too old and too infirm to be entrusted with the care of a vulnerable child. The problem they have is not that grandparents are always better than strangers. It’s that gay couples are never as good as grandparents, even if those grandparents wouldn’t be as good as a straight couple according to the rules for adoption as they presently stand. Unfortunately for ‘Peter’, either he’s going to have to justify that belief, or live with me being rude and calling him a bigot. It’s not totalitarian, he doesn’t have to like it, he just has to accept that until he’s justified his position, I’m going to assume it’s mere prejudice and ignore it for practical purposes.

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¹ I assume that ‘Peter’ wants us to call him by a name he’s comfortable with, which is why I’m putting it in inverted commas.

² Or, at best, no non sequitur and two unfounded beliefs, but I think the belief that lesser writers can’t do justice to cuff-links, even if they have help dressing from better writers, is one that is generally accepted. At least, by anyone not aware of the evidence to the contrary. Which is all lies anyway. But I digress.

Strange Ontology: Week beginning 26th January 2009

Interesting this week is the story about the dead coke-sniffing police dog – the most unequivocal quote in the story is “‘Sniffing drugs could well have been a factor,’ vet Kate Fairclough said. ‘”, so how do we get to ‘doomed’ in the headline? The story on the magic plums has gone into ‘Other’ rather than ‘Original research’ as I can’t find any attached peer reviewed study, the same is true of the salty soup story.

Original research

28th January

Active sex life ‘cuts prostate cancer risk’ – once you’re over fifty

A report on: Dimitropoulou et al. (2009 ) Sexual activity and prostate cancer risk in men diagnosed at a younger age British Journal of Urology International 103:178-185

Tanning drug could ‘mask the signs of cancer’

A report on: Lagan et al. (2009 ) Change in moles linked to use of unlicensed “sun tan jab” BMJ 338:b277

Causes in brief

26th January

Aspirin ‘tackles liver damage caused from alcohol and obesity’

“There is increasing evidence that regular use of aspirin can cut the chances of developing certain types of cancer.”

27th January

A round-up of the latest health news: Palm oil could reduce stroke risk and why sugar and a dummy calm a stressed baby

“The vitamin E in the palm oil is considered particularly potent; in previous studies, it has been shown to kill some cancer cells.” (e.g. Nesaretnam, Dorasamy and Darbre (2005) Tocotrienols inhibit growth of ZR-75-1 breast cancer cells International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 51:S95-103)

28th January

Inhaling cocaine ‘doomed police sniffer dog to fatal cancer’

“A police sniffer dog has died of nose cancer, raising fears that regular contact with cocaine and other drugs may have led to his death.”

31st January

Is your make-up killing you? The deadly poisons lurking in your handbag

“The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) says there is evidence formaldehyde causes a form of throat cancer in humans.”

“The IARC has concluded that using talc-based body powder in this region is possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

“Oestrogen is known to play a part in the onset and progression of cancer.”

also includes reports on: National Toxicology Program (1993 ) NTP Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies of Talc (CAS No. 14807-96-6)(Non-Asbestiform) in F344/N Rats and B6C3F1 Mice (Inhalation Studies) National Toxicology Program Technical Report Series 421:1-287;  Dabre et al. (2004 ) Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours Journal of Applied Toxicology 24:5-13; Janjua et al. (2007 ) Systemic Uptake of Diethyl Phthalate, Dibutyl Phthalate, and Butyl Paraben Following Whole-Body Topical Application and Reproductive and Thyroid Hormone Levels in Humans Environmental Science and Technology 41:5564-5570; McGrath (2003 ) An earlier age of breast cancer diagnosis related to more frequent use of antiperspirants/deodorants and underarm shaving European Journal of Cancer Prevention 12:479-485

Other

26th January

Coffee may raise child cancer risk: New evidence that caffeine could damage babies’ DNA

The title is actually misleading – no ‘new evidence’ is adduced. Spot the key words in the following: “To establish the link, scientists at Leicester University will scrutinise the caffeine intake of hundreds of pregnant women and compare the results with blood samples from their babies after birth.” Notice also the missing ‘if there is a’.

27th January

‘My cancer was cured – thanks to a tiny baby’

“Many of the 25,000 Britons who suffer from cancers of the blood, such as leukaemia, face an agonising wait for a bone marrow transplant. Judy Knight, 53, a practice nurse from Northamptonshire, had a new procedure using donated umbilical cord blood.”

Britain ‘sickest’ country in Europe with worst rates of obesity and teenage pregnancy

“More women die of alcoholic liver disease and cancer here than in almost any other country.”

28th January

Watchdog bans Christian advert that claims cervical cancer vaccine causes infertility

“Because we [the ASA] had not seen robust, scientific evidence that the HPV vaccine caused infertility in teenagers, we concluded that the claim had not been substantiated and was misleading.”

30th January

Plums are new super-food and full of disease-fighting antioxidants, says experts

See the company’s press release here.

Drug U-turn gives hope to cancer sufferers

“Thousands of cancer sufferers will get the chance to try a life-prolonging drug [Revlimid] on the NHS.”

Salty soups can increase cancer risk, says expert

“People who regularly have soup with a high salt content could be increasing their risk of stomach cancer, according to an expert.”